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US tells citizens in Yemen to leave
Sanaa, August 6, 2013
The United States told its citizens in Yemen on Tuesday to leave immediately and ordered the evacuation of non-essential US government staff because of the threat of terrorist attacks.
The State Department announcement was the latest warning since Washington issued a worldwide travel alert on Friday that prompted the closure of several Western embassies in Yemen and US missions across the Middle East and Africa.
Based on intelligence including intercepted communication between Al Qaeda leaders, Washington has warned of possible attacks in the region.
Some officials pinpointed Yemen, home to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the most active affiliates of the network established by Osama bin Laden and where the US uses drones to hunt militants.
On Tuesday, its latest sortie killed four.
"The Department urges US citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those US citizens currently living in Yemen to depart immediately," the statement posted on its website said.
"On August 6, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency US government personnel from Yemen due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks," it added.
Britain said on Tuesday it had withdrawn all staff from its embassy in the capital Sanaa, adding there was "a very high threat of kidnap from armed tribes, criminal and terrorists".
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu-Bakr al-Qirbi criticised the measures but said they would not affect relations with the US.
"Unfortunately, these measures, although they are taken to protect their citizens, in reality they serve the goals that the terrorist elements are seeking to achieve," Qirbi told Reuters.
"Yemen had taken these threats seriously and had taken all the necessary measures to protect all the foreign missions in the country," he added. - Reuters