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Houthis overrun intelligence headquarters in Sana’a, free Iranians - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Shi'ite Houthi rebels man a checkpoint in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, on September 24, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Shi’ite Houthi rebels man a checkpoint in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, on September 24, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Several Iranian military personnel previously detained in Yemen’s national security headquarters were released on Wednesday by Houthi rebels who are in control of most of the capital Sana’a, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Shi’ite rebels overran the main base of Yemen’s intelligence service, located in the Sarraf district of central Sana’a on Wednesday, setting free crew of the Jihan 1, the Iranian ship that was captured off the Yemeni coast in January 2013.

Yemeni officials said the ship was being used to smuggle a large cache of weapons to Houthi militants when it was seized.

The Shi’ite rebels have exerted great efforts to secure the release of the Iranians, who included military experts affiliated with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a security source who requested anonymity told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The move proves that “Houthis are continuing their efforts to implement regional agendas” in Yemen, he added.

Meanwhile, Yemeni authorities released two Iranians they arrested earlier this year at Sana’a International Airport on suspicion of training Shi’ite insurgents, news agency AFP reported on Thursday.

The release was secured after meditation efforts from Oman, a neighboring Arab Gulf state that enjoys good ties with Iran.

The two Iranians left Sana’a airport on board an Omani plane heading towards the Sultanate.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi issued a decree on Wednesday appointing two new presidential advisers, Saleh Al-Samad from the Houthi Ansar Allah organization, and Yassin Mekawi, who belongs to the secessionist movement based in Southern Yemen known as Al-Hirak.

The appointments are part of a UN-brokered deal signed by the central government and the Houthis to end the fighting that led to the fall of Sana’a into the rebels’ hands earlier this week.

The government has also agreed to cut fuel prices by 15 percent, reversing a controversial price hike that sparked unrest in July, and led the Houthis to mobilize and occupy a number of protest camps across the capital for over a month.