MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen with support from Iran have acquired classified intelligence documents on US counter-terrorism operations in the country, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing unnamed US intelligence officials.
The Houthis have captured large parts of Yemen and forced US-backed President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to step down. After later escaping house arrest, he disavowed his resignation.
The United States has been conducting drone strikes against militants in Yemen since 2002. US President Barack Obama halted the strikes for two months in February.
US officials told the LA Times, that the loss of the intelligence data and the escalation of conflict in Yemen contributed to Obama's decision. In addition, Washington evacuated its embassy in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa last month and troops from its Yemen air base over the weekend.
"The U.S. still plans to fly armed drones over Yemen from bases in Saudi Arabia and Djibouti, but officials acknowledged that their ability to identify and find terrorism suspects has been severely hampered by the loss of the intelligence files and the power struggles within Yemen's security services," the source said, as quoted by LA Times.
On Wednesday evening, Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf nations launched a military offensive against the Houthi rebels at the request of beleaguered Yemeni President Hadi.