SANAA: The US Embassy was closed to the public Thursday in Yemen after a spate of attacks against foreigners and fears that Al-Qaeda will seek revenge for a deadly offensive in the south.
“The embassy is closed today. And this will remain in effect until further notice,” an employee at the US mission in a heavily-guarded neighborhood in northeast Sanaa, said.
Police were deployed along all roads leading to the embassy and conducted a thorough inspection of vehicles in the vicinity in line with security measures put in place several months ago.
State Department spokeswoman Jan Psaki said Wednesday that the embassy would be temporarily closed to the public “due to recent attacks against Western interests in Yemen.”
These attacks “and information we have received have given us enough concern to take this precautionary step,” she said in a statement.
On Monday a Frenchman was killed and another was wounded when gunmen opened fire on their car in Sanaa’s diplomatic district.
Both worked for a private security firm that officials said was guarding the European Union delegation in Yemen.
On Wednesday, Yemeni security forces shot dead the head of a “terror cell” behind Monday’s attack, the country’s supreme security committee said.
Later that day the interior ministry said it was searching for suspects whose vehicles were involved in recent attacks in Sanaa after “five Al-Qaeda terrorists” were arrested in several parts of the capital.
The suspects had “arms, ammunition, and devices used to carry out terrorist acts” in their possession, it said.
In her statement on Wednesday the State Department spokeswoman said that Washington would “evaluate the security every day and.. reopen the embassy to the public once it is deemed appropriate.
The US Embassy and several Western missions in Yemen closed in August after US warnings of an Al-Qaeda attack.