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Britain joins U.S. in evacuating Yemen embassies amid Al Qaeda alert

August 06, 2013|By Janet Stobart | This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
  • Yemeni security forces stand guard outside the British Embassy in Sanaa on Sunday.
Yemeni security forces stand guard outside the British Embassy in Sanaa… (Mohammed Huwais / AFP / Getty…)

LONDON — The British Foreign Office announced Tuesday that all embassy staff in Yemen had been temporarily evacuated because of "increased security concerns."

The foreign office also advised against all travel to Yemen, where "the situation remains volatile with continuing unrest and violent clashes."

"There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Yemen," the foreign office said. "Due to increased security concerns, all staff in the British Embassy have been temporarily withdrawn and the embassy will remain closed until staff are able to return."

A foreign office spokesperson said embassy staffers "are on their way back to Britain."

The U.S. State Department has also ordered the U.S. Embassy in Yemen evacuated as a result of threats by Al Qaeda that have triggered temporary shutdowns of 19 American diplomatic posts across the Muslim world.

 A suspected U.S. drone strike killed four alleged Al Qaeda members in Yemen on Tuesday.

Yalda Hakim, a BBC World Service presenter recently returned from a reporting trip to Yemen where she said her family had suffered fatalities from U.S. drone attacks, told BBC TV news that "people are not naturally Al Qaeda supporters" but many whose family members had been killed or injured by drone attacks had "become anti-American because of U.S. policy there."

[For the Record, 11:00 a.m. PST, Aug. 7: Hakim of BBC World News spoke to members of famlies that had suffered fatalities in drone strikes; her family didn't suffer fatalities.]


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