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France - Yemen

France closes embassy in Yemen over security fears

French embassy in Sanaa, Yemen.
French embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. DR/Ambassade de France au Yémen

France will close its embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, for several days from Sunday because of fears of a terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda. United States and Britain have also closed their embassies in Yemen over security fears.

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“We have been directly and indirectly informed of threats concerning our overseas establishments and expatriates; threats from Al-Qaeda,” said the French President, François Hollande.

He added the decision was made because “we had elements leading us to believe that these threats were extremely serious, and several countries have made the same decision. Therefore, the embassy will be closed for several days.”

Hollande also urged French nationals in Yemen to take extra caution.

The announcement follows the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany to close their embassies in Yemen on Sunday and Monday.

On Thursday, the United States announced it would close more than 20 embassies on Sunday, a working day in the Arab world, because of intelligence suggesting that Al-Qaeda may be planning a terrorist attack this month.

The US embassies to be closed cover virtually the entire Arab world, as well as consulates in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Israel. US-run facilities in Israel will also be closed.

The US has also issued a travel alert to its citizens.

The Obama administration has come under criticism for not doing more to prevent an attack on September 11 last year against the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi

The closures coincide with the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

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