UPDATED 9:44AM ET 2/12/15 – |
U.S. Embassy Marines in Yemen destroyed all of their weapons as they evacuated the country with diplomatic personnel under orders from the State Department, the Marine Corps said in a statement Wednesday night.
“To be clear, no Marine handed a weapon to a Houthi, or had one taken from him,” the Marines said in the statement distributed by the Pentagon.
Earlier Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, said that the Embassy Marines had destroyed their crew-served weapons at the Embassy but had “left behind” their personal weapons such as M-9 pistols and M-4 carbines at the airport in the capital city of Sanaa.
“The Marine Security Force left the American embassy in Yemen for the movement to the airfield as part of the ‘ordered departure’ with only personal weapons. All crew-served weapons were destroyed at the Embassy prior to movement. None of them were ‘handed over’ in any way to anyone,” the Marine Corps said.
“Upon arrival at the airfield, all personal weapons were rendered inoperable in accordance with advance planning,” the statement said. “Specifically, each bolt was removed from its weapons body and rendered inoperable by smashing with sledgehammers. The weapons’ bodies, minus the bolts, were then separately smashed with sledgehammers.”
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The Marines also left behind several vehicles at the airport in the capital city of Sanaa before departing on a civilian flight, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
Warren said the Marines destroyed their machine guns and other crew-served weapons before leaving the Embassy for the airport. He also said that it was unclear who now had custody of the weapons and vehicles that were surrendered.
A Marine spokesman could not immediately say whether the surrender of weapons by Embassy Marines in an evacuation was unprecedented.
The Marines “destroyed their crew served weapons. They left their personal weapons behind,” Warren said, but he could not say whether the Houthi rebels who have taken over much of the country now had the weapons and vehicles left by the Marines.” (Full Story here)
Fox News Reported:
Armed rebels in Yemen’s capital of Sanaa seized U.S. embassy vehicles Wednesday after diplomats fled the country over growing unrest.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren confirmed that the vehicles were taken by Houthi rebels after embassy personnel and U.S. Marines guarding the embassy evacuated.
Warren said the Marines turned over their small arms to government officials before boarding a commercial flight from Sanaa.
Marines “destroyed the larger weapons” before leaving Yemen Tuesday, Warren said.
Members of the embassy staff told Reuters that more than 20 vehicles were taken by the rebels after the Americans left Sanaa’s airport.
Late Tuesday, the State Department announced that the U.S. Embassy in Yemen had been closed and evacuated after much of the country was taken over by Shiite rebels last month.
Hours later, Britain and France followed suit and ordered their citizens to leave Yemen as soon as possible.
The U.S. embassy had already been operating with severely reduced staff for several weeks. State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said remaining diplomatic personnel had been relocated “due to the ongoing political instability and the uncertain security situation.”
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