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US shuts Yemen embassy as part of new focus on Al Qaeda

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Reuters / File

(Read caption) A soldier stands guard in front of the US embassy following bomb attacks in Sanaa in this Sept. 18, 2008 file photo. The embassy has closed in response to threats by Al Qaeda on Sunday.

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The US and Britain closed their embassies in Yemen Sunday, citing threats from Al Qaeda. Coming one day after President Obama publicly linked the Al Qaeda branch in Yemen to the failed airline bomb plot on Christmas Day, the move signals that the US is now taking the growing Al Qaeda threat in Yemen more seriously.
 
BBC News reports that it is unclear how long both embassies will remain closed. The US embassy released a statement saying that it would be closed Sunday, but did not specify when the mission would reopen. Agence France-Presse also reports that the US embassy sent a message to US citizens in Yemen Thursday reminding them of the terrorist threat.

The US embassy in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, has been attacked before: In 2008, a car bomb attack killed 19 people, including one American. And in 2000, the attack on the USS Cole killed 17 American sailors, as The Christian Science Monitor reported recently in a review of Al Qaeda-linked attacks that have involved Yemen.

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