US unloads drones on Yemen, Americans told to get out

Yemen
Photo Credit: NY Times

The State Department has urged all Americans to leave Yemen immediately Tuesday after suspected U.S. drone strikes killed four militants in an al-Qaida stronghold, CNN reported.

The current shutdown of 19 U.S. embassies was triggered from intercepted intelligence of a terrorist attack plot in the final stages stemming from Yemen, although it is unclear if the drone strikes carried out were in response to that threat, the article said.

The four al-Qaida militants killed in the two suspected strikes were not “among the 25 names on the county’s most-wanted list, security officials said,” CNN reported.

According to CNN Tuesday morning:

It is unclear whether the strikes were related to the added security alert in the country after U.S. officials intercepted a message from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to operatives in Yemen telling them to “do something.” The message was sent to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s Yemeni affiliate. U.S. intelligence believes al-Wuhayshi has recently been appointed the overall terror organization’s No. 2 leader.

The State Department said the substantial security steps reflect an “abundance of caution” over intelligence information that indicated final planning by al Qaeda in Yemen for possible terrorist attacks on Western targets to coincide with the end of Ramadan this week.

Three sources told CNN that the United States has information that members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are in the final stages of planning for an unspecified attack. Recent jailbreaks in Pakistan, Iraq and Libya all have the fingerprints of al Qaeda operations.

All Americans in Yemen, as well as non-essential government personnel were told to leave the country immediately. The State Department cited “terrorist activities and civil unrest,” CNN said.

The British embassy also reportedly withdrew staff and said it will keep its facility closed down until further notice.

More from CNN.

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