Houthi leader rejects US sanctions, warns of wider attacks By Reuters

Houthi leader rejects US sanctions, warns of wider attacks By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee, walks after an interview with Reuters in Sanaa, Yemen, August 1, 2018. Photo taken August 1, 2018. REUTERS / Khaled Abdullah

DUBAI (Reuters) – An Iranian-aligned Houthi movement leader in Yemen on Sunday rejected US sanctions against military officials and threatened possible expanded attacks on “aggressor countries” after Washington urged the group to s ‘seriously engage in peace efforts.

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Houthi military officials leading an offensive to seize Yemen’s Marib region as the US special envoy on Yemen called for de-escalation and pressed for a ceasefire agreement -fire.

The Houthis have fought a Saudi-led military coalition for more than six years in a war that has killed tens of thousands and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

“Sanctions do not scare the Mujahedin,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the group’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said in a Twitter post. “If they continue the blockade and aggression, then perhaps there will be strikes on unexpected sites in some aggressor countries.”

The movement continued its cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and its offensive in Yemen’s gas-rich Marib, after Riyadh proposed a nationwide ceasefire agreement in March that includes reopening of links. air and sea to Houthi-controlled areas.

But the Houthis have insisted that restrictions be lifted on the port of Hodeidah, Yemen’s main entrance for trade and aid imports, and Sana’a airport before any truce negotiations.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government from the capital, Sana’a, in a conflict widely seen as a proxy war between rivals Saudi Arabia and the ‘Iran.

US envoy Tim Lenderking also urged the coalition on Thursday to lift restrictions on all Yemeni ports and airports to alleviate what the United Nations considers the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

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