The US State Department has called on American citizens in Yemen to leave the country “immediately” because of security concerns.
“The US Department of State warns US citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest, ” the department said in a statement on Tuesday. It also “urges US citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those US citizens currently living in Yemen to depart immediately. ”
" As staff levels at the Embassy are restricted, our ability to assist U. S. citizens in an emergency and provide routine consular services remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation, " the department said in a travel warning.
In a similar move, Britain's Foreign Office said that it had evacuated all staff from its embassy in Yemen due to security concerns, adding that the British embassy staff were "temporarily withdrawn to the UK" on Tuesday. The warning came after the United States closed 19 American embassies and consulates across the Middle East and North Africa until Saturday, warning that al-Qaeda may be planning to conduct terrorist attacks by the end of this month. In a separate statement on Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the order for Yemen came because of concern about a "threat stream indicating the potential for terrorist attacks against US persons or facilities overseas, especially emanating from the Arabian Peninsula." Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman George Little said that non-essential embassy staff were transported out of the Yemeni capital city of Sana'a by Air Force jets early Tuesday morning. DEBKAfile reported on Monday that the United States ordered its warships in the Middle East to be ready in case of a possible terror attack by al-Qaeda. US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel “is considering a special deployment of US forces in the Middle East ready for action if a terrorist attack makes it necessary,” according to the report. “US warships have been ordered to sail into waters opposite Yemen, which is reported to be the source of the terrorist threat which has closed 19 US embassies and consulates in the Muslim world since Sunday,” DEBKAfile reported. Some analysts believe that a terrorist threat at this time can help Washington divert attention from the uproar over the NSA’s spying programs.