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Alert keeps Yemen embassy closed

The British embassy in Yemen will remain closed until the end of the Muslim festival Eid amid "continuing security concerns", the Foreign Office said.

The temporary closure of the embassy in the Yemeni capital Sana'a has been extended until later this week as US officials said a number of its embassies in north Africa and the Middle East would remain shut until Saturday over a possible militant threat.

UK authorities have not yet specified the nature of the threat which led to the decision to close the embassy. However, British nationals have been warned there is a "high threat" from terrorism in the Middle Eastern country.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "Due to continuing security concerns the British embassy in Yemen will remain closed until the end of Eid."

The exact date that the embassy will reopen has not been announced, although the festival is due to finish on Thursday. Eid marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with the FCO recommending particular vigilance as "tensions could be heightened".

British nationals have been warned against all travel to Yemen and those in the country have been advised to leave immediately, as it is "extremely unlikely" that their evacuation could be arranged if the security situation deteriorates.

The Foreign Office said: "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."

US diplomatic posts in 19 cities in the Muslim world will be closed at least until the end of this week, with officials citing "an abundance of caution".

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the decision to keep the embassies and consulates closed was "not an indication of a new threat", but "merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution and take appropriate steps to protect our employees, including local employees, and visitors to our facilities".

Diplomatic buildings will remain closed in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, among other countries, until Saturday, August 10. The State Department added closures of four African sites, in Madagascar, Burundi, Rwanda and Mauritius.


From Belfast Telegraph