UK evacuates Yemen embassy staff amid threat

LONDON (AP) — The British government evacuated all staff from its embassy in Yemen Tuesday due to increased security concerns, the Foreign Office said Tuesday.

The move comes shortly after the U.S. State Department ordered non-essential personnel at its embassy in Yemen to leave the country following the threat by al-Qaida that has triggered temporary shutdowns of 19 American diplomatic posts across the Middle East and Africa.

The Foreign Office said the British embassy staff were “temporarily withdrawn to the U.K.” on Tuesday and the embassy will remain closed until staff can return.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office would not confirm if there was evidence of a specific threat, describing the measure as “precautionary.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government policy, the spokeswoman said the Foreign Office has been in contact with the small number of British nationals who have remained in Yemen despite advice for them to leave.

Before the staff evacuation, Britain’s Foreign Office had said the embassy would be closed through the end of the Muslim festival of Eid.

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