US expected to reinstate Houthi rebels on list of foreign ‘terrorist’ groups

The Joe Biden administration plans to put Yemen’s Houthi rebels back on the list of foreign terrorist organizations following recent attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea, a U.S. official told Reuters.

On Tuesday, the U.S. military launched strikes on Yemen, targeting four Houthi missiles that posed an “imminent threat” to merchant and military vessels, according to a U.S. official.

Backed by Iran, Houthi rebels have carried out numerous drone and rocket attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea in recent weeks as a sign of “solidarity” with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

In retaliation, the US and UK struck dozens of Houthi positions on Yemeni territory on Thursday, January 11, in a “defensive action”. The two countries were also supported by Canada, Australia, Bahrain and the Netherlands. The next day, US President Joe Biden called Yemen’s Houthi forces a “terrorist” group.

The Houthis were classified as a terrorist group at the end of Donald Trump’s term. In February 2021, the US announced its intention to withdraw the Houthi rebels from this blacklist.