US embassy staff destroy documents before Yemen-pullout

Sana'a - US diplomats destroyed documents, telecommunications equipment and other sensitive materials before evacuating their embassy in increasingly unstable Yemen, local employees said on Wednesday.

Marine guards at the mission "destroyed their weapons, sensitive documents, telecommunications equipment, computers, telephones and photocopiers before leaving the embassy", one of them told AFP.

Another employee said they "destroyed everything they couldn't take with them", including numerous vehicles, which they crushed with a wrecking crane.

Earlier, diplomatic and airport sources said Shi'ite militiamen had seized from Sana'a international airport some 30 vehicles left behind by embassy staff.

Meanwhile, militiamen took up positions outside the mission in the east of the capital at a bit after 20:00, residents said.

The US State Department said on Wednesday it was suspending its Sana'a mission indefinitely due to Yemen's "deteriorating security situation".

Britain also evacuated its diplomats and France called on its citizens to leave the country, announcing it was closing its embassy on Friday.

The Huthi militia, which entered the capital unopposed last September, ousted Yemen's Western-backed president last week in a move denounced by some neighbouring states as a coup.

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