Al Qaeda Attack Risk Forces US To Remove Personnel From Yemen

Seth Fitzgerald

Fear surrounding a potential terrorist attack from al Qaeda has forced the US to pull non-essential personnel out of Yemen. As a result of these threats, the US has already shutdown 19 diplomatic posts around the Middle East.

Although Pentagon press secretary George Little clarified that they will keep some personnel within the country to assist the State Department, all non-Governmental citizens should "leave immediately." Between the threat itself and the shortage of staff at the US embassy in Yemen, American citizens will be less likely to receive immediate help if an emergency was to arise.

The threat, which was intercepted last week, was between two top-level al Qaeda leaders who were discussing plans for an attack. The BBC is reporting that security in the Yemeni capital is "unprecedented" with hundreds of armored military vehicles around the city in preparation for the potential attack.

Details regarding the threat have been hard to come by, but the State Department did state that the intercepted conversation originated from an al Qaeda member in the Arabian Peninsula. The New York Times says that the call was between Bin Laden's successor Ayman al-Zawarhi and Nasser al-Wuhayshi who leads the Yemeni-based section of al Qaeda.

Embassies throughout northern Africa and all of the Arabian Peninsula are being shutdown as a result of these threats, leaving most of those locations unsafe for regular American citizens. The UK Foreign Office has also announced that they will be pulling their staff out of Yemen.

Earlier today, US drone strikes reportedly took out four al Qaeda members, and, although we are still unsure whether or not the strike was connected to the embassy evacuations, it will be the fourth attack in the past two weeks to take out alleged al Qaeda members.

The US Embassy in Sana'a will be closed until Saturday.