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U.S. Embassy in Yemen shut down after credible threat

On Wednesday, United States officials announced the temporary shut down of public operations at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, after a credible terrorist threat against American interests.

U.S. suspends Yemen Embassy operations to public, citing security
Courtesy of U.S. Department of State

In August 2013, the U.S. Department of State, in an unprecedented move closed several U.S. embassies on three continents after new details emerged regarding a possible al-Qaeda terrorist plot after communications were intercepted of top al-Qaeda leaders indicating they “wanted to do something big”on the 27th night of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which fell on the weekend of August 3 and 4.

More recently, in March, 2014, a credible threat to the U.S. Embassy in Yemen after a video of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) showing some 100 al Qaeda operatives in Yemen emerged on Jihadi websites. On Monday, Yemen's Interior Ministry confirmed that militants opened fire on three French security guards working on a mission with the European Union, killing one and wounding another.

U.S. officials say the disclosure of the National Security Agency's (NSA) covert eavesdropping operations by ex-CIA contractor, Edward Snowden last year resulted in changes to al Qaeda in Yemen's method of communication, making it more difficult to track the terrorist group's activity.

An official statement released on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of State said:

"We continue to evaluate the security situation every day, and we will reopen the embassy to the public once it is deemed appropriate," and describing the step as "precautionary."

CNN is reporting that an anonymous U.S. official said the suspension of the embassy activity was based on credible information about threats to Western interests. The senior official was not sure whether the threat was embassy-specific.