Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who have successfully overtaken much of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, have freed Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and his cabinet ministers after they were kept on house arrest for almost two months.
The Yemeni Prime Minister wrote on his Facebook page on Monday that the Houthis released him in hopes of establishing goodwill with their political opposition in the war-torn country.
Bahah praised UN authorities for helping negotiate the release of his cabinet. He said that the release means he will have “absolute freedom to travel inside and outside the country.”
Yemen Post editor Hakim al-Masmari told Al Jazeera that Bahah has already left Sanaa for more friendly territory. “The Houthis right now are under massive pressure, and that is why they needed to show some goodwill and that there is still a chance to reach a deal,” he added.
Shortly after the Houthi overthrow of Yemen, the United States shut down its Sanaa embassy in February.
Some members of the officially recognized Yemeni government have set up a temporary base in Aden. President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and Defense Minister Mahmoud al-Subaihi have recently arrived at the seaport city and have been trying to retain control over the country from there.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Pentagon revealed that it has been unable to account for over $500 million is U.S. military equipment that was designated for the Yemeni military. U.S. officials fear that the military aid may have ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda militants or the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.