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Houthis claim ‘American-Israeli spy network’ members arrested

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels said Monday they had arrested members of an «American-Israeli spy network» days after detaining at least 11 U.N. staffers along with others from aid organizations.

Maj. Gen. Abdulhakim al-Khayewani, head of the Houthis’ intelligence agency, announced the arrests, saying the spy network had first operated out of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa. Then after it was closed in 2015 following the Houthi takeover of the capital Sanaa and northern Yemen, they continued «their subversive agenda under the cover of international and UN organizations,» he said.

He did not say how many people were arrested. Houthi authorities issued what they purported to be videotaped confessions by 10 Yemenis, several of whom said they were recruited by the U.S. Embassy. They did not include any of the U.N. employees who were arrested. The Houthis’ claims could not be independently verified.

HOUTHIS DETAIN AT LEAST 9 UN EMPLOYEES AND OTHER AID WORKERS, OFFICIALS SAY

The United Nations on Friday announced the arrests of 11 Yemeni staffers. Six worked for the U.N.’s human rights agency, while one apiece worked for its special envoy’s office, its development arm, UNICEF, the World Food Program and UNESCO. Other aid groups also reported employees detained, though the total number was not known.

FILE – Yemenis gather past graffiti against the Saudi-led airstrikes on the wall the main entrance of the closed U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. Yemen’s Houthi rebels said Monday, June 10, 2024, they had arrested members of an «American-Israeli spy network» days after detaining at least 11 U.N. staffers along with others from aid organizations. The head of the Houthis intelligence agency says the spy network had first operated out of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, then «under the cover» of international and U.N. organizations. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

The detentions come as the Houthis, who have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition since their takeover of the north, have been targeting shipping throughout the Red Sea corridor over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, their administration has faced increased financial pressure, and the group has cracked down on dissent at home, including recently sentencing 44 people to death.

Al-Khayewani depicted the spy network as having worked for decades to infiltrate Yemen’s economy, agriculture, health system and other sectors to destroy them.

The war in Yemen has killed more than 150,000 people, including fighters and civilians, and created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters, killing tens of thousands more. The Houthis’ attacks on shipping have helped deflect attention from their problems at home and the stalemated war. But they’ve faced increasing casualties and damage from U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the group for months now.

It’s unclear what exactly sparked the latest detentions. Former employees of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, which shuttered in 2015, also have been detained and held by the Houthis.

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However, it comes as the Houthis have faced issues with having enough currency to support the economy in areas they hold. Yemen’s exiled government in the southern city of Aden have demanded all banks move their headquarters there as a means to stop the worst slide ever in the value of the currency and re-exert their control over the economy.


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German police shoot ax-wielding man with 'incendiary device' threatening fans near Euro 2024 soccer match

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Police in Germany said officers opened fire on an ax-wielding suspect who put fans in jeopardy near a Euro 2024 fan parade in the city of Hamburg Sunday. 

Hamburg Police said an unidentified person threatened officers «with a pickaxe and an incendiary device» in the St. Pauli district. 

The incident reportedly happened on the sidelines of a Euro 2024 soccer fan parade, which was unfolding hours before Poland and the Netherlands were scheduled to play in the city’s stadium, Volksparkstadion.

Officers deployed their guns, and the attacker was injured and received medical attention, police said on X. 

GERMAN POLICE PREPARE FOR LARGEST DEPLOYMENT EVER AHEAD OF EURO 2024 AS SOCCER VIOLENCE SURGES

Police cordon off an area near the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany, Sunday, June 16, 2024. German police say officers have shot and wounded a man who was threatening them with an ax and a firebomb.  (Steven Hutchings/dpa via AP)

The department afterward announced a «major police operation» underway, adding the event at Heiligengeistfeld «is subject to various security checks and is well protected.» 

«We are currently assuming that there was a lone perpetrator,» police added. 

The incident happened around the same time as the Dutch fan parade. Nearly 40,000 soccer fans were marching through the entertainment district, according to German state broadcaster DW. 

The suspect reportedly walked out of a bar and began waving an ax in a «threatening manner.» Officers opened fire after the man refused to lay down the ax, hitting him in the leg, German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported, citing Hamburg Police. German media published images of a person lying in the street surrounded by paramedics and police officers.

German soccer stadium

A view of the Volkspark Stadium ahead of the European Soccer Championships 2024 in Hamburg, Germany, May 14, 2024.  (Christian Charisius/dpa via AP, File)

«According to current knowledge, there is no football connection,» a police spokesman told the outlet. The motive was not immediately announced. 

EUROPEAN VOTERS REJECT SOCIALISM, FAR-LEFT POLICIES IN EU PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS: ‘POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE’

German authorities have put police on high alert during the tournament, which began Friday and runs through July 14, for fear of possible fan violence and terrorist attacks.

German police officers

Police officers walk on a sidewalk next to an apartment building in Wolmirstedt, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. German police say they shot to death an Afghan man after he fatally attacked a compatriot and later wounded three people watching the televised Euro 2024 soccer tournament.  (Thomas Schulz/dpa via AP)

On Friday, police shot to death a 27-year-old Afghan national after he fatally attacked a 23-year-old compatriot with a «knife-like object» and later wounded three people watching the televised game between Germany and Scotland in Wolmirstedt, a small town about 80 miles west of Berlin. 

Police said Sunday the motive for that attack was still unclear. 

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The Interior Ministry in Saxony-Anhalt state, which includes Wolmirstedt, said police had increased their presence across the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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