Yemen's Houthis confiscate U.S. Marines' weapons

The State Dept. closed and evacuated the Embassy.
By Ed Adamczyk  |  Feb. 11, 2015 at 1:15 PM
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SANAA, Yemen, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Embassy vehicles, and the weapons of departing U.S. Marines, were confiscated by Yemen's Houthi rebels, an official at Sana, Yemen, airport said Wednesday.

The United States closed its Embassy and recalled its personnel after the government, long a crucial anti-terrorism partner of the United States, was taken over by the rebels, Shiite Muslims in a predominately Sunni nation, who seized control of government offices, including the presidential palace, and dissolved Parliament last week. Yemeni employees of the embassy said tens of thousands of documents were burned, and weapons destroyed, by embassy personnel before the building was closed.

An unidentified Sanaa airport official said the rebels commandeered U.S. Embassy vehicles parked at the airport, and seized weapons from U.S. Marines leaving the country.

"The Department of State has decided to suspend our embassy operations and our embassy staff have been temporarily relocated out of Sana'a. Recent unilateral actions disrupted the political transition process in Yemen, creating the risk that renewed violence would threaten Yemenis and the diplomatic community in Sana'a," State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The British and French Embassies have also been closed.

The Houthi movement has close ties to Iran, and although it opposes Al-Qaida, which has a sizable presence in Yemen, considers the United States an opponent as well.

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