Norwegian journalist held in Yemen, accused of spying

Norwegian journalist held in Yemen, accused of spying
A man reacts at the site of an air strike in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

OSLO - A Norwegian freelance journalist has been arrested in the Yemeni capital Sanaa and accused of spying against the Houthi Shiite rebels who have seized the city, media reports said on Thursday.

Raymond Lidal, 28, was detained in late March when he failed to show a journalist's visa while filming Saudi-led airstrikes against the rebels, according to the Verdens Gang newspaper.

Norway's foreign affairs ministry confirmed that a Norwegian national had been arrested in Sanaa but would not comment on his identity or the reasons for the arrest.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Veslemoey Lothe Salvesen, told AFP that Norway had been in touch with Yemeni authorities and insisted that they were "responsible for his security and health".

The ministry added that details of the case were unclear due to the "chaotic situation" in the country.

Norwegian public broadcaster NRK - one of Lidal's employers - said he had been reporting from Yemen for several media outlets since 2013 while studying there.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels have seized swathes of territory in Yemen since they entered Sanaa in September forcing the government to flee and prompting airstrikes since March 26 by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states.

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