The State Department on Thursday called on Iran-backed Houthi rebels to release Yemeni US embassy staff from fighters detained in the northern city of Sanaa after entering the country’s compound. ravaged by war.
Details: A State Department spokesperson, in an emailed statement, also called on the Houthis to “immediately evacuate” the compound and “return all seized property.” Most of those detained, who worked outside the compound on tasks such as security, were released, the spokesman said.
“We are concerned that Yemeni staff at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa continue to be detained without explanation and we call for their immediate release.”
— State Department Spokesperson
To note : State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a briefing when information about the detention of embassy employees emerged on Tuesday that U.S. officials have been “relentless in our behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts to obtain their release”.
The big picture: The United States suspended embassy operations in Yemen in February 2015, about five months after the start of the country’s ongoing civil war between Houthi forces and a Saudi-led coalition that backs the president. Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, as the rebels took control of Sanaa.
- President Biden announced in February his intention to end US support for the pro-Hadi coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen amid a serious humanitarian crisis.
- The Biden administration announced a month later that the United States would restore full humanitarian aid funding to rebel-held areas of northern Yemen to help millions of people on the brink of starvation.