Houthi chief dismisses U.S. sanctions, warns of expanded assaults By Reuters

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

DUBAI (Reuters) – A leader of the Iranian-led Houthi movement in Yemen on Sunday denied US sanctions against military officials and threatened possible expanded attacks on “aggressor countries” after Washington urged the group to undertake serious peace efforts .

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Houthi military officials leading an offensive to conquer the Marib region in Yemen when the US special envoy to Yemen called for de-escalation and pushed for a ceasefire agreement.

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

“Sanctions don’t frighten the mujahideen,” said Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, chairman of the group’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, in a Twitter post. “If they continue the blockade and aggression, there may be strikes in unexpected places in some aggressor countries.”

The movement has continued 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 air and sea links to Houthi-held areas.

But the Houthis have insisted that restrictions on Hodeidah Port, the main entry point for Yemen’s trade and aid imports, and Sanaa Airport be lifted before ceasefire talks are held.

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government from the capital, Sanaa, in what is widely viewed as a proxy war between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

US envoy Tim Lenderking called on the coalition on Thursday to lift restrictions on all Yemeni ports and airports in an attempt to alleviate what the United Nations said is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

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