Britain and US shut embassies in Yemen
Published 04/01/2010 | 05:00
America and Britain were forced to close their embassies in Yemen yesterday after al-Qa'ida called on Muslims to kill every Western diplomat on the Arabian Peninsula.
In a statement posted on the internet, al-Qa'ida in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) called on its followers to declare "all-out war against every crusader on Mohammed's Peninsula".
It added: "We call upon every Muslim who cares about his religion and doctrine to assist in expelling the apostates from the Arabian Peninsula by killing every crusader who works at their embassies."
Western missions in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, responded to the threat by closing their doors.
A fortnight ago, Yemen announced it had killed, in an air strike, four members of an AQAP cell plotting to blow up the British embassy in Sana'a.
In 2008, the group carried out a well co-ordinated attack on the city's American embassy, killing 19 people, including an 18 year-old American woman.
John Brennan, US President Barack Obama's assistant for homeland security and counter-terrorism, told CNN: "There are indications that al-Qa'ida is planning an attack against a target in Sana'a.
"We know that al-Qa'ida is out there. We know we have to mind our steps," he added.
The Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab has threatened to cross the border to assist Yemeni extremists.
Britain and the US will also be pushing the UN for a larger peacekeeping force to prevent this. British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown said the failed Detroit bombing had been a "wake-up call", adding that Yemen had become an "incubator and potential safe-haven for terrorism".
US-backed Yemeni forces carried out air strikes against AQAP's leadership on December 24, the day before Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab attempted to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 with explosives concealed in his underwear. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)