Embassies on alert in Yemen

2010-01-03 18:07

Madrid - Spain is to restrict public access to its embassy in Yemen for security reasons, a diplomatic source said on Sunday, though it will not close the mission at present.

Madrid's announcement came after the United States and Britain closed their embassies in Sanaa following threats from a local branch of al-Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day attack on a US airliner.

"The Spanish Embassy in Yemen remains open and operational, but access is restricted for security reasons," the Spanish diplomatic source told AFP.

Earlier on Sunday, the online edition of the newspaper El Mundo said Spain had decided to close its embassy in Sanaa on Monday and Tuesday, quoting embassy sources.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula urged attacks on Westerners in the region, calling for the killing of "every crusader who works at their embassies or other places".

London and Washington have agreed to help Yemen in its fight against extremism by funding the country's Counter-Terrorism Unit - a special force which in the past has received US training and assistance.