Zev Porat

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

U.S. tells citizens in Yemen to leave immediately

A military police trooper checks a car at a checkpoint in Sanaa August 6, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

(Reuters) - The United States told its citizens inYemen on Tuesday to leave immediately and airlifted out some U.S. government personnel, following warnings of potential attacks that have pushed Washington to shut diplomatic missions across the Middle East.

The poorest Arab country, Yemen is the base for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the most active branches of the network founded by Osama bin Laden, and militants have launched attacks from there against the West.

U.S. sources have told Reuters that intercepted communication between bin Laden's successor as al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, and the Yemen-based wing was one part of the intelligence behind their alert last week.

Britain, which has already advised for more than two years that its citizens in Yemen should "leave now", announced it was temporarily evacuating all its embassy staff.

Yemen is one of a handful of countries where Washington acknowledges targeting militants with strikes by drone aircraft.

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