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Marines destroyed weapons before leaving Yemen, military says

Houthi fighters check cars on a road leading to the house of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Sanaa, Yemen, on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015.

HANI ALI/XINHUA/ZUMA PRESS VIA TNS

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 12, 2015

Marine guards disabled all of their personal weapons before leaving Yemen as part of the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Sanaa, the military said Wednesday.

A statement from the Marine Corps released Wednesday said none of the weapons belonging to the embassy’s Marine security detachment were handed over to anyone upon departure.

“All crew-served weapons were destroyed at the embassy prior to movement. None of them were ‘handed over’ in any way to anyone. The destruction of weapons at the embassy and the airport was carried out in accordance with an approved destruction plan,” the statement said.

Officials said the Marines left the embassy on Tuesday with only personal weapons. Upon arriving at the airport they removed the bolts and smashed them with sledge hammers and then did the same to the weapons’ bodies. They later flew out on board commercial aircraft.

“All of these destroyed components were left at the airport — and components were scattered,” the statement said. Marine Corps officials stressed that no usable weapon was taken from any Marine at Sana’s airport.

While U.S. embassy personnel were leaving Yemen, U.S. Navy and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit forces operating from the USS Iwo Jima in the Red Sea were standing by to assist the State Department’s departure from Yemen, but they were not needed, 5th Fleet officials said.

The Iwo Jima, part of an Amphibious Ready Group with an embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit, has a multitude of capabilities, including close air support aircraft, a Quick Reaction Force, a Casualty Evacuation Force and a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and a Personnel Force.

The British and French embassies were also closed over security concerns after Houthi rebels gained control of much of the capital.

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