US Embassy Yemen Now on Ordered Departure

— Domani Spero

Today, the State Department announced the ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks. It also urged American citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those already in the country to “depart immediately.”

August 6, 2013

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

On August 6, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks.

U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should depart. 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. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on July 16, 2013.

The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high. In September 2012, a mob attacked the U.S. Embassy compound. Demonstrations continue to take place in various parts of the country and may quickly escalate and turn violent. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations, and to exercise extreme caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.

Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to be active throughout Yemen. 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. A U.S. citizen was attacked and killed in Taiz on March 18, 2012 and the press reported that AQAP claimed responsibility. An ongoing risk of kidnapping exists throughout Yemen. In the last year, international and local media have reported several kidnappings of Westerners. Violent crime is also a growing problem; local media reported the murder of two U.S. citizens in Taiz and Aden in 2013. In addition, piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean is a security threat to maritime activities in the region. See our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet.

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens’ ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide assistance. U.S. citizens in Yemen should ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times.

Read in full here: http://yemen.usembassy.gov/wm-080613.html

The Pentagon also released a statement that the Air Force transported the personnel ordered to leave Yemen early today.

In response to a State Department request, the Air Force transported personnel out of Sanaa, Yemen, early this morning as part of a reduction in emergency personnel, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

“The U.S. Department of Defense continues to have personnel on the ground in Yemen to support the U.S. State Department and monitor the security situation,” Little said in a statement.

The State Department today ordered a reduction in the number of emergency U.S. government personnel in Yemen.

“As we have said, we are concerned about a threat stream indicating the potential for terrorist attacks against U.S. persons or facilities overseas, especially emanating from the Arabian Peninsula,” State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement. “As such, the department is taking appropriate steps to protect our employees, including local employees and visitors to our facilities.”

Since  the Sanaa airport is reportedly open, and commercial flights have not been suspended, it does not look like there is a  USG-evacuation at this time for private Americans leaving Yemen.

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