Yemen Offensive al-Qaida: Embassies on High Alert After Strike

Image: Yemen Offensive al-Qaida: Embassies on High Alert After Strike Yemeni soldiers stand guard at a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen.

Friday, 09 May 2014 02:09 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Al-Qaida militants attacked the motorcade of the Yemen defense minister Friday after the country's security forces pushed its fighters out of its stronghold in the country's southern district. Embassies across the globe have been on high alert following the attack.

Militants fired on the motorcade from a hill overlooking the main road in the southern region of Mahfad. Yemen officials said that Army personnel, backed by U.S. drones, killed three and two were wounded and captured.

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The U.S. embassy was closed part of the week because of a concern that militants would retaliate, according to The Associated Press.

In another incident, two al-Qaida militants from the Marib province were killed Thursday by Yemen security in the country's capital, the interior ministry said. Al-Qaida operatives reportedly blew up an oil pipeline in Marib and cut off electricity supplies to Sanaa on Friday in retaliation.

Yemen's offensive forced other countries, including Frnace, the European Union, and the United States, to scale back their presence in the country, according to Reuters.

"Like other diplomatic and international actors in Sanaa, we are limiting the presence to essential staff and reviewing our security measures," Michael Mann, a spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told Reuters.

The United Nations announced that it would not leave Yemen, despite threats of retaliation.

"To the contrary, (it) is determined to continue the implementation of its critical mandates in this country, including political, development and humanitarian," Farhan Haq, spokesman for the United Nations, said to Reuters. "To enable the above, the U.N. is applying a variety of security risk management options."

The International Committee for the Red Cross also announced that it was "reducing its exposure" in the Yemeni capital while describing safety conditions there as "extremely worrying, unpredictable."

"There are no private movements within the country except when people go to the airport for their (breaks)," Robert Mardini, head of Red Cross operations for the Near and Middle East, told Reuters.

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