on Wednesday 24 November, 2021

Use ‘all available leverage’ to release detained US employees by Houthis: Congressmen

A Houthi fighter by the closed US Embassy in Sanaa. (File Photo: AFP)
by : Yemen Details

Top US lawmakers said Tuesday that they were “alarmed” by the Houthis’ continued detention of US employees and the Iran-backed group’s storming of the US Embassy in Yemen in recent weeks.

“Above all, we call on the Houthis to immediately release all US and UN staff and end their harassment of US Embassy LES and breach of our diplomatic compound,” Congressmen Gregory Meeks and Michael McCaul said in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The two Congressmen called on Blinken to exercise “all available leverage” to secure the release of the detained.

A response is needed to prevent such actions in the future, they said.

Last month, 30 Yemenis employed by the US were detained by the Houthis. They were released with the help of regional partners, the State Department has said.

But in Tuesday’s letter, Meeks and McCaul said Oman had played a “helpful role” in helping to release some US Embassy employees.

UN employees were detained in a separate incident, the State Department said. And more US employees continue to be held after also being detained.

“The Houthis’ military capabilities are enabled by Iran, which has long supported the group with weapons and training,” Meeks and McCaul said, adding that resources were needed to intercept weapons smuggled by Iran to the Houthis.

“The United States cannot tolerate a breach of our sovereign territory or attacks” on its employees, they said. “We stand ready to work with you to hold the Houthis accountable for these shameful violations.”