The United States on Saturday closed its embassy in Yemen, authorized its non-essential diplomats and families of US government employees to leave, and warned Americans to avoid the country, citing terrorist threats.
The State Department "currently believes there is an increased terrorist threat to US citizens and interests in Yemen," the department said in a statement, cited by CNN.
"As a result, the department has authorized the departure of embassy personnel in non-emergency positions and family members of embassy personnel," it said, urging US citizens to "defer travel to Yemen."
"In addition, the US embassy in Sanaa will suspend service to the public," it said.
"All Americans in Yemen should consider this information, review their personal security situations and take those actions they deem appropriate to ensure their safety," the statement added.
The length of the embassy closure, put into effect Saturday, was not given in the statement, according to CNN.
The exact nature of the increased terrorist threat to Americans in Yemen was not described, but the statement mentioned not only the October 12, 2000 bomb attack on the USS Cole in Aden that killed 17 US sailors, but also numerous kidnappings of foreigners in the country.
It said that more than 100 abductions had taken place since 1991. "As these incidents indicate, the level of risk for foreigners in Yemen remains high."
In the latest incident, a young German was abducted by tribesmen in downtown Sanaa last month and taken to a mountain hideout in the Marib region – Albawaba.com