Houthi rebels breached the compound in Yemen that housed the American Embassy, which has been closed during the country’s civil war, taking Yemeni employees of the U.S. government hostage.
According to the State Department, the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen and his main staff have been working from the American Embassy in Saudi Arabia since February 2015 due to the ongoing conflict. However, there are still some Yemeni staff that worked from home or as security guards at the compound, Bloomberg reports.
While the State Department said Thursday that a "majority" of hostages that had been detained were released, there are still embassy staff that "continue to be detained without explanation."
"We have been unceasing in our behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts to secure their release," Department of State Press Secretary Ned Price said Thursday of the security guards still detained. "We've seen some progress, and we're continuing to work this critical issue."
The State Department also called on Houthi forces to “immediately vacate” the embassy compound and to “return all seized property.” The detained Yemeni employees are security personnel who had been guarding the outside of the facility, according to a State Department official.
Saudi Arabia is staunchly opposed to the Houthi forces and launched a military intervention in 2015, ostensibly seeking to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government to power. The conflict is also a regional one, in which the Saudis and their allies are seeking to prevent Iran from expanding its influence.
Houthi forces have also directly attacked Saudi Arabia, targeting the energy-rich kingdom’s airports and oil production facilities. The Saudi government had imposed a near-total blockade on Yemen, exacerbating a severe humanitarian crisis. (WaPo)
The Biden administration in February reversed a Trump-era decision to designate the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group.
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have stormed the US Embassy in Yemen and taken hostages.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 12, 2021
Within a month of taking office, Joe Biden removed the Houthis from the terrorist watch list.
This is the awful price of showing weakness to our enemies. https://t.co/Ih8TeylXyu
Yet another catastrophic national security failure for Joe Biden. The Biden admin couldn't wait to dismantle terrorism sanctions on the Iran-backed Houthis and their leaders. Now those terrorists are seizing our facilities & embassy workers. https://t.co/64L9hw2dw3— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 11, 2021
This is exactly why I called on the Biden Administration to reverse its disastrous decision to remove the #Houthis from the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. With #Iran’s support, the Houthis continue to kill, kidnap, & terrorize. We must re-designate them as an FTO. https://t.co/ZjGcfXzE3Q— Congresswoman Tenney (@RepTenney) November 11, 2021
Soon after becoming President, Biden removed the Iranian-backed Houthis from the terrorism list. Now they’ve attacked our Embassy in Yemen and taken hostages. Why? Because they know they can get away with it!— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) November 12, 2021
It was such a brilliant stroke to remove Houthi-Hezbollah from the foreign terrorist organization list. They’ve become much more moderate as the months have gone by. https://t.co/A5ymE9Zppo— Mark Dubowitz (@mdubowitz) November 10, 2021
The DC media is hiding this story because it, once again, shows Joe Biden-Kamala Harris Administration failing.— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) November 12, 2021
U.S. diplomacy isn’t back, it’s on its back. https://t.co/aG6zTmF2ch