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U.S. Embassy in Yemen reopens

A Yemeni counterterrorism operation 'addressed a specific area of concern,' it says on its website.

January 05, 2010|By Borzou Daragahi | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Reporting from Beirut — Washington reopened its diplomatic outpost in Yemen today after shuttering it for two days because of "credible information that pointed to imminent terrorist attacks," said a statement posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Sana, the capital. The U.S., Japan and several European nations shut their embassies this week amid worries about rising Al Qaeda activity on the troubled Arabian Peninsula. Western intelligence and counterterrorism officials have put a spotlight on Yemen after the suspect in the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight asserted that he was handed his instructions by a cleric in Yemen. U.S. officials said they reopened the embassy today because a Yemeni counterterrorism operation on Monday "addressed a specific area of concern." Yemeni officials reportedly killed two and injured two suspected Al Qaeda operatives in the Arabian Peninsula on Monday. The Interior Ministry today said it had arrested five other "terror elements" in and around the capital and Hudaydah province. The ministry said it had beefed up security measures around foreign embassies and residential districts favored by the international community in Sana, according to Yemen's official Saba news agency. An unnamed official told Saba that security forces had imposed a "cordon" and round-the-clock surveillance around Al Qaeda militants. "Security protections for embassies are at a high standard of counteraction performance in case of any repulsive attempt," an official told Saba today. "The Ministry of Interior emphasizes that all embassies, diplomatic missions and foreign companies are fully secured and there is nothing to be worried about," the official reportedly said. "Security is maintained and there is no fear for the life of any foreigner or any foreign embassy in the country." Still, U.S. officials urged Americans living in Yemen not to take any chances. "The threat of terrorist attacks against American interests remains high and the Embassy continues to urge its citizens in Yemen to be vigilant and take prudent security measures," a statement said. daragahi@latimes.com

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