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US sanctions 2 Yemeni rebels for cross-border, sea attacks

CAIRO (AP) — The United States imposed sanctions Tuesday on two rebel leaders in Yemen, citing their alleged roles in cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

The Department of the Treasury said Houthi leaders Monsour al-Saadi and Ahmed al-Hamzi were responsible for attacks “impacting Yemeni civilians, bordering nations, and commercial vessels in international waters.”

"These individuals command forces that are worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” said Andrea M. Gacki, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department.

The office of the Houthis' military spokesman declined to comment on the sanctions.

Al-Saadi heads the Houthi naval forces and masterminded attacks on ships in the Red Sea, while Al-Hamzi supervised missile and explosive-laden drone attacks in Yemen and on Saudi Arabia, the Treasury Department alleged.

Yemen’s war started in 2014 when the Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north. The Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition intervened months later to dislodge the rebels and restore the internationally recognized government. The conflict has killed some 130,000 people and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

As Yemen’s war grinds on, Houthi missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia have grown commonplace, but only rarely causing damage. At least five civilians were wounded Monday when a Houthi projectile landed in a street in Saudi Arabia’s southern province of Jizan.

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