Embassies remain closed in Yemen

2010-01-04 09:39

Sanaa - The United States and Britain kept their embassies in Yemen closed for a second day on Monday over concerns about possible militant attacks after the failed Christmas Day bombing of a US-bound airliner, diplomats said.

The US embassy has cited threats by al-Qaeda, which US intelligence agencies believe has a growing presence in Yemen. An aide to President Barack Obama has said the United States had indications al-Qaeda was planning an attack in Sanaa.

"The embassy is still closed again today ... We are continuing to make the security review," a US diplomat, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. Britain has cited security reasons for its embassy's closure without elaborating.

Yemen, facing a Shi'ite Muslim rebellion in the north and separatist protests in the south, has tightened security on its coast to stop Islamist militants infiltrating from Somalia.


Authorities had put al-Qaeda militants in two coastal provinces under round-the-clock surveillance, the state news agency said on Sunday, after Somali militants said last week they were ready to send reinforcements for al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Western allies have sought to bolster Yemen's government for fear that al-Qaeda might exploit the country's instability to launch more attacks across the globe.

The Nigerian man charged with trying to bomb a Detroit-bound passenger plane on Christmas Day is believed to have received training from al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Al-Qaeda said the bombing attempt was retaliation for US involvement in Yemen and its military support for the state, which has launched an offensive against the militants.

Spain's embassy in Yemen had restricted access but remained open on Sunday, the Spanish government said. El Mundo newspaper said the embassy would be closed to the public on Monday.