U.S. Embassy Staff Evacuated From Yemen
In the latest response to intelligence apparently indicating an increased risk of terror attacks, most of the people working at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen have been evacuated:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military evacuated non-essential U.S. government personnel from Yemen on Tuesday due to the high risk of attack by al-Qaida that has triggered temporary shutdowns of 19 American diplomatic posts across the Middle East and Africa.
The State Department said in a travel warning that it ordered the evacuation “due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks” and said U.S. citizens in Yemen should leave immediately because of an “extremely high” security threat level.
“As staff levels at the Embassy are restricted, our ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency and provide routine consular services remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation,” the travel warning said. The U.S. Embassy is located in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.
Additionally, there are reports of a U.S. drone strike in the country yesterday:
Yemeni security officials said a suspected U.S. drone strike at about 2 a.m. local time Tuesday killed four alleged al-Qaida members in a volatile eastern province of the country. The drone fired a missile at a car carrying the four men, setting it on fire and killing all of them, the officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear if the decision to evacuate the embassy, made earlier, was connected to the drone strike.
The Yemeni officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to talk to the media, said they believe one of the dead is Saleh Jouti, a senior al-Qaida member. It’s the fourth drone attack in the past two weeks to hit a car believed to be carrying al-Qaida members.
Much like Dave Schuler, I’m not sure what to make of these reports about terror threats and the embassy closings that have taken place in response. On some level, though it does appear that the Administration is taking a “better safe than sorry” approach in no small part due to what happened last year in Benghazi.