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Yemen ups security at Western missions after U.S. warning

Published: Updated:

Yemeni forces have upped security around Western embassies in Sana'a on Sunday. The embassies are to remain closed following a U.S. warning of a major al-Qaeda attack.

Armored personnel carriers were stationed outside the U.S. embassy and the missions of Britain, France and Germany on Sunday, an AFP correspondent reported.

“We are already in a state of alert, but we have doubled our alertness,” a police officer told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Police and army checkpoints have been set up on all main streets around the capital, especially those leading to Western embassies.

Britain, France and Germany announced on Saturday that their missions in Sana'a would remain closed Sunday and Monday -- the first two days of the working week in Yemen.

The British and French embassies also updated their travel advice for Yemen to warn against entering the country.

Washington has closed its embassies across the Arab world after warning of the danger of a major al-Qaeda attack in August that U.S. lawmakers said involved the jihadist network's Yemen affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The State Department issued a travel warning to U.S. citizens on Saturday a day after announcing that some two dozen embassies or consulates would be closed on Sunday as a precaution.

The missions cover virtually the entire Arab world and also include two embassies in predominantly Muslim non-Arab Afghanistan.

Washington considers AQAP to be al-Qaeda's most active and dangerous branch and has waged an intensifying drone war against the group's militants in Yemen that saw three deadly strikes in the five days to August 1.

U.S. President Barack Obama hosted his Yemeni counterpart Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi for White House talks hours after the latest strike to discuss joint efforts against the jihadists.

Separately, Interpol, the France-based international police agency, on Saturday issued a global security alert advising member states to increase vigilance against attacks after a series of prison breaks in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan. Interpol said it was investigating to determine if the escapes were linked.

Interpol also noted that August was the anniversary of several attacks in past years, including those in Mumbai and Nairobi.

(With AFP and Reuters)