Britons warned to leave Yemen immediately due to civil unrest
Escalating violence and clashes in Yemen have resulted in the closure of the British Embassy in the capital Sana’a for two days.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all travel to the nation, and issued a statement urging all Britons to leave as soon as they are able. The Embassy, already operating in a reduced capacity, will be closed on Sunday and Monday as a “precautionary measure,” and any British nationals left within the country are unlikely to be evacuated to safety or provided consular assistance should the situation get worse.
The unrest comes as the US State Department warned of possible al-Qaida terrorist attacks in August in the Middle East, and issued a global travel alert to US citizens. Around 21 American embassies in Middle East nations – including Yemen – will be closed from tomorrow after al-Qaida messages were allegedly intercepted.
Soldiers involved in a mutiny within the elite Republican Guard – troops loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh – tried to storm the Sana’a presidential palace today, and prompted fighting within the city. According to officials there were six casualties and one fatality. Tanks and other armoured vehicles were later sent to the scene.
The FCO pledged further advice to British citizens adding: “There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Yemen. Terrorists continue to threaten further attacks. There is a very high threat of kidnap from armed tribes, criminals and terrorists.”
The FCO has recommended “particular vigilance during Ramadan,” which ends on the 8th August as “tensions could be heightened”.
Issuing a global travel warning to US citizens, the State Department said: “Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organisations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.”
So far the FCO is keeping embassies open in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq, but has advised staff to “exercise extra vigilance as we approach Eid”.