Yemeni security officials say a member of the country’s Jewish minority has been detained over allegations he helped smuggle an 800-year-old scroll to Israel.
The officials say Yahia Youssef Yaish is being interrogated by the intelligence service run by Shiite Houthis rebels, who control the country’s capital, Sanaa.
The officials also said on Tuesday that three airport employees have also been detained over the same allegations. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
In Israel, Avi Mayer, the spokesman for the Jewish Agency, confirmed the Torah scroll was smuggled out of Yemen with a rabbi and 18 Yemeni Jews who left to Israel last month.
Yemeni intellectuals issued a statement demanding Yaish’s release and describing allegations against him as “fabricated.”