The State Department has ordered some diplomats at the U.S. embassy in Yemen to evacuate amid unrest and sectarian clashes that have left Shiite rebels in control of the capital, Sanaa.
In the Thursday order, the department also advised Americans there to leave the country.
The embassy remains open.
Shiite militants seized control over much of Sanaa over the weekend, prompting the prime minister's resignation and forcing a deal to form a new government, The Wall Street Journal notes
The militants, known as Houthis, agreed to a United-Nations-mediated ceasefire with Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour al Hadi and most of the country's major political parties.
“Today, the Department of State ordered a temporary reduction in the number of U.S. government personnel in Yemen,” the department said in a statement.
“We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution and in response to recent political developments and the changing, unpredictable security situation in Yemen.”
The Houthis have vowed to go after al-Qaida’s branch in the country, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which plotted the 2009 “underwear bomb” Christmas attack on a U.S. jet over Detroit.
"The Houthi tribesmen have gained control of large swaths of the city and set up checkpoints in various locations — including the embassy — raising fears in the State Department that the security situation may further erode," a senior official told the Washington Times
Lincoln Bloomfield, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told the Washington Times the State Department will probably temporarily eliminate non-security positions, such as jobs that focus on culture, economics or trade.
“They’ll probably take commercial aircraft or charter a plane or drive out like they did in Libya,” the official said.
The department called for a reduction of more than 150 personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli
in July after militia violence erupted in the capital area.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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