Yemen’s Houthi rebels have detained another official of the long-closed U.S. Embassy there, bringing the number of local ex-U.S. Embassy staffers in the rebel group’s custody to at least 11, according to accounts from Yemeni officials and others.

The Houthis, an Iran-backed group that controls the capital, Sanaa, and much of Yemen’s north, took into custody a former press officer from the U.S. Embassy last week, according to a rights lawyer in Sanaa, Abdel-Majeed Sabra, and a family member of a detainee. The family member spoke on condition of anonymity because of the fear of reprisals.

Sabra said the former embassy press officer was being held in the Houthi-run Security and Intelligence Authority facility. It’s not known whether Houthis have charged the man or any other of the detainees from the U.S. Embassy staff, he said.

Sabra said the latest staffer was detained a month after the rebel group arrested his former deputy at the embassy.

Houthi rebels brought the latest embassy staffer back to his home on Tuesday to search it, and took him away again.

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

Washington shut down its embassy in Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest nation, in 2015, as conflict fractured the country.

Source » trackpersia