SANAA, Yemen

The Yemeni government has welcomed the US sanctions on five leaders of the Houthi rebel group.

The move “comes as a victory for the civilian victims against the tyranny and crimes of these terrorist militias [the Houthi group],” the Yemeni Foreign Ministry said late Thursday in a statement carried by the official Saba News Agency.

The government said it looks forward to similar steps by the international community to “deter Houthis militias, which have not stopped committing crimes and grave violations against civilians.”

On Thursday, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on five Houthi leaders over charges of “committing violations against Yemenis, including arbitrary detention and torture.”

The sanctioned leaders include Abdul Hakim al-Khawani, the head of the group’s intelligence apparatus.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the conflict in Yemen has so far claimed the lives of 233,000 people.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat in Ankara

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