Houthis Seize Another US Embassy Staffer In Yemen, 11 In Total

Yemeni officials on Thursday said that Houthis have detained another staffer of a long-closed US Embassy, bringing the total number of captives to at least 11 people.

Abdel-Majeed Sabra, a rights lawyer in Sanaa, the capital city, said that Houthis have detained a former press officer from the US Embassy last week. The family members of the detained man also confirmed the news but did not provide further details due to fear of reprisals.

“Ex-embassy press officer was being held in the Houthi-run Security and Intelligence Authority facility,” Sabra added.

The US State Department said in an email to The Associated Press this week that the US government was “unceasing” in efforts to secure the release of the local embassy staffers. 

The US had closed its embassy in Yemen in 2015 after the intensification of violence when the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels took control of Sanaa.

In October, Houthi rebels had stormed the headquarters of the US embassy and detained dozens of former staffers. Many of them were later released but some of them are still under the custody of Houthis.

Houthi rebels also intensified cross-border attacks targeting Saudi Arabia and UAE in the past month that caused retaliation by the Gulf States by ground and air operations.

On January 17, Iranian-backed Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile attack that killed three people and wounded six others in UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, the US on Wednesday placed new sanctions on an international network run by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps for funneling tens of millions of dollars to Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

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