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article imageUS asks Americans to leave Yemen in response to terror threat

By Abdul Kuddus     Aug 6, 2013 in World
Sanaa - After shutting down diplomatic missions across the Middle East, the US asked its citizens in Yemen Tuesday to leave immediately. Reportedly, the US government has already airlifted some of its personnel.
According to Reuters, US sources intercepted communication between Osama bin Laden’s successor Ayman al-Zawahri and Yemen based wing of the al-Qaeda.
“The State Department asked Americans in Yemen to leave immediately, citing terrorist activities and civil unrest. All non-emergency U.S. government personnel were also told to leave,” the CNN reported.
Following the US measure, Britain on Tuesday also announced temporary evacuation of its entire embassy staff, according to reports.
Reportedly, the United States intercepted information that al-Qaeda operatives in the Arabian Peninsula are in the last stages of launching an unspecified attack. Recent jailbreaks in Pakistan, Iraq and Libya all pinpoint to al-Qaeda operations.
The US State Department last week issued a worldwide travel alert and shut 19 embassies and consulates missions across Middle East, Africa and Bangladesh. Some of the European countries also shut down their embassies in Yemen.
Reportedly intercepted communication between al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the terror network’s Yemen branch, triggered the shutdowns.
“The Pentagon said it was keeping an undisclosed number of military personnel in Yemen to support the U.S. Embassy and monitor the security situation. Residents in the capital reported seeing and hearing a low-flying aircraft that many believed to be a U.S. drone or some form of surveillance plane,” the Washington Post reported.
Yemen remains a strategic al-Qaeda base in the Arabian Peninsula. The US military and the CIA continue to carry drone strikes from US bases in Djibouti and Saudi Arabia.
As the evacuation of US personnel was being carried out, US drones targeted a moving car in Yemen’s Marib province, killing four suspected al-Qaeda militants, according to reports.
Four drone strikes have been carried out in the past 10 days, CNN reported.
Since last year, the US has also deployed Special Operations Forces to train Yemeni counter-terrorism forces and facilitate intelligence sharing to target al-Qaeda militants.
In past, the al-Qaeda based in Yemen attempted to attack the United States on several occasions, including smuggling parcel bombs on flights into the country in 2010, and an unsuccessfully attempt to bomb an airliner over Detroit in 2009.
Yemen criticized the hasty evacuation of US citizens saying the decision "serves the interests of the extremists and undermines the exceptional cooperation between Yemen and the international community in the fight against terrorism.”
The government in Yemen insisted that it has taken all precautions to ensure the security of foreign missions in the capital, Sanaa.
More about Terror threat, Yemen, United States, Al qaeda
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