WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — The U.S. on Thursday imposed sanctions on a group of money exchange services from Yemen and Turkey alleged to help provide funding to Houthi rebels who have been launching attacks on commercial shipping vessels in Red Sea.

Included in the sanctions are the head of a financial intermediary in Sana’a, Yemen, along with three exchange houses in Yemen and Turkey. U.S. Treasury alleges the people and firms helped to transfer millions of dollars to Houthis at the direction of sanctioned Iranian financial facilitator Said al-Jamal.

The sanctions block access to U.S. property and bank accounts and prevent the targeted people and companies from doing business with Americans.

Thursday’s action is the latest round of financial penalties meant to punish Houthis.

Brian E. Nelson, U.S. Department of Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the action “underscores our resolve to restrict the illicit flow of funds to the Houthis, who continue to conduct dangerous attacks on international shipping and risk further destabilizing the region.”

Nelsons said the U.S. and its allies will continue to target key facilitation networks that “enable the destabilizing activities of the Houthis and their backers in Iran.”

In early December, the U.S. announced sanctions against 13 people and firms alleged to be providing tens of millions of dollars from the sale and shipment of Iranian commodities to the Houthis in Yemen.

Houthis have targeted ships in the region sporadically in the past, but the attacks have increased since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, spiking after an Oct. 17 explosion at a hospital in Gaza killed and injured many. Houthi leaders have insisted Israel is their target.

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