US denies reports on Yemen rebels seizing weapons from Marines
The US Marine Corps has denied reports that Houthi rebels seized weapons from its personnel in Yemen.
In a statement, the US Marines said that all the crew have destroyed the weapons at the embassy before leaving to Sana'a airport in Yemen.
"None of them were 'handed over' in any way to anyone," the statement said.
"The destruction of weapons at the embassy and the airport was carried out in accordance with an approved destruction plan. The weapons bodies, minus the bolts, were then separately smashed with sledgehammers. All of these destroyed components were left at the airport and components were scattered; no usable weapon was taken from any Marine at Sana'a airport.
"To be clear: No Marine handed a weapon to a Houthi, or had one taken from him," the statement said.
The statement was issued in response to previous reports that the Houthi rebel army has seized weapons from the US Marines who were leaving Yemen after the US has decided to close the mission in the wake of unrest in the country.
Iran-backed Houthi rebels, comprising Shiite Muslims, have overthrown the government, resulting in unrest and protests in the Sunni-dominated country.
The UK and the French Governments also have decided to close their embassies in Yemen.
Yemen has been a longtime ally of the US in fight against the Al Qaeda.