Posted by on November 21, 2023 3:42 pm
Categories: News Washington Examiner

US considers designating Houthis a terrorist organization after cargo ship hijacking

The Galaxy Leader is seen at the port of Koper, Slovenia on Sept. 16, 2008. Yemen’s Houthi rebels seized the Israeli-linked cargo ship Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, in a crucial Red Sea shipping route, officials said, taking over two dozen crew members hostage and raising fears that regional tensions heightened over the Israel-Hamas war were playing out on a new maritime front. Kristijan Bracun/AP

US considers designating Houthis a terrorist organization after cargo ship hijacking

Mike Brest November 21, 03:24 PM November 21, 03:24 PM Video Embed

The Biden administration is considering redesignating the Houthi rebels, based in Yemen, as a terrorist entity, a White House official confirmed Tuesday.

The Houthis, who are mostly Yemeni rebels who have Iranian support, have shot down an American drone, flown a drone in the direction of American forces, and fired missiles believed to be heading to Israel in the last couple of weeks. Over the weekend, Houthi forces seized an Israel-connected vessel, taking the crew, about 25 people, hostage.


“In light of that recent targeting of civilians by the Houthis and now the piracy of a ship in international waters, we have begun a review of potential terrorist designations, and we’ll be considering other options together with our allies and partners as well,” said John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications.

U.S. Navy carriers in the Middle East have intercepted missiles or drones from Yemen, presumably from the Houthis in particular, that officials suspected were targeting Israel or posing a threat to U.S. forces twice in the last month. The USS Carney intercepted three cruise missiles and several drones in an incident last month, while last week, the USS Thomas Hudner shot down a drone that was flying toward it.

The Houthis shot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Red Sea earlier this month that the department did not try to recover. They are holding the crew of the Bahamas-flagged car carrier Galaxy Leader, which is owned by Ray Car Carriers, hostage.

Kirby called the seizure of the vessel “a flagrant violation of international law.”


“Iran is complicit through its material support and encouragement of the Houthi forces who conducted the seizure,” Kirby added. “Absolutely unacceptable. The Houthis ought to release that ship immediately, as well as the crew, and unconditionally.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken revoked the Houthis’ terrorist organization designation in February 2021, which had only been in place for a month in one of the Trump administration’s last moves.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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