Monday, January 4, 2010

US & UK Close Yemen Embassies

WASHINGTON, Jan 3: The United States and Britain closed their embassies in Yemen on Sunday after receiving information that Al Qaeda is planning attacks at American and British targets in that country.

“We know that they have been targeting our embassy, our embassy personnel,” President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan told journalists in Washington.

It was not clear when the US or British embassies would reopen.

The US mission in Sanaa was the target of an attack in September 2008, which was blamed on Al Qaeda, and in which 19 people died, including a young American woman.

In Yemen’s capital Sanaa, the US embassy issued a message to American citizens in the country, urging them to remain vigilant.

The embassy said the threats came from an Al Qaeda group linked to the failed Christmas Day aeroplane bombing attempt in the United States.

Mr Brennan, the US Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism, told ABC News in Washington that the group had “several hundred members” in Yemen and was posing an increasing threat there.

“This is something that we’ve known about for a while,” he said. “We’re determined to destroy Al Qaeda, whether it’s in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or in Yemen.”

In London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the BBC: “This is a new type of threat and it is from a new source which is obviously Yemen, but there are many other potential sources Somalia, as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

AFP adds: A government official in Sanaa said that Britain closed its embassy in Yemen on Sunday, following a similar move by the United States, because of threats from a local branch of Al Qaeda.

“The embassy is closed today (Sunday) for security reasons, and out of fear of possible Al Qaeda reactions,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

From here.

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