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US closes Yemen embassy to public after attacks

May 7, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has temporarily closed its embassy in Yemen, officials said Wednesday, citing recent attacks against Westerners in the capital of Sanaa but no specific threats to Americans.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa would reopen “once it is deemed appropriate.” She described the closure, which affects U.S. services to the public like visa processing, as precautionary.

“The United States remains firmly committed to supporting Yemen as it works to achieve meaningful reform through its ongoing transition process and to enhance security for the Yemeni people,” Harf said in a statement.

A second U.S. official said no American personnel have been evacuated from Sanaa. The U.S. official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the situation by name.

Earlier this week, gunmen in Sanaa opened fire on three French security guards working with the European Union mission, killing one with some 10 gunshots and wounding another.

Suspected al-Qaida militants have killed several foreigners in Yemen over the past two years, and abductions for ransom are frequent in the impoverished country.

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