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U.S. urges citizens to leave Yemen ‘immediately’

Published: Updated:

The U.S. State Department ordered all “non-essential” staff to leave Yemen and told Americans to leave the country “immediately” over high-level terror alert on Tuesday.

The latest statement comes after the closure of over 20 U.S. missions across the Middle East and Africa amid reportedly “pre- 9/11 levels of chatter” and reports of intercepted messages from Ayman al-Zawahiri to AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi, ordering an imminent attack.

"The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest," it said in a statement.

"The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart immediately."

It said it had "ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks."

The statement highlighted that the "threat level in Yemen is extremely high" because of the potential for both terrorist attacks and civil unrest.

"Terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to be active throughout Yemen," it said.

"The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Yemen), and U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests."

The latest State Department warning came hours after a U.S. drone strike killed four suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen. It is not clear whether the development is linked to the strike.

(With AFP)