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Yemen rebels release PM, Cabinet from house arrest

ADEN, Yemen - Yemen's Shiite rebels who overran the capital, Sanaa, and several northern provinces, on Monday released the country's prime minister and all Cabinet members from weeks-long house arrest, the premier said, describing it as a gesture of good will by the rebels aimed at defusing the political crisis.

The rebels, known as the Houthis, seized control of Sanaa last September and in January put President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the entire government, including Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, under house arrest. The Houthis later declared they have taken over the country.

During their forced detentions, Hadi and the Cabinet members resigned in protest. Hadi eventually escaped from house arrest, surfaced in the southern port city of Aden where he revoked his resignation and set up a base to rally supporters to his side.

The Houthi power grab has dragged Yemen deeper into turmoil and threatened to split the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

Bahah announced his release from house arrest and that of all the ministers in a posting on his Facebook page, saying it was meant to "push the political process in a positive direction."

"I urge all political and social forces to preserve security, stability and unity of Yemen," he wrote in the posting, warning of "dangerous consequences" if Yemen sinks further into chaos.

Bahah did not clarify if he also was rescinding his resignation but said he was now leaving Sanaa to visit family elsewhere.

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