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Saudi Embassy in Yemen on high alert

April 20, 2012 at 9:51 AM

SANAA, Yemen, April 20 (UPI) -- Security forces in Yemen are called on to impose tight security measures around the Saudi Embassy in the country, the country's Interior Ministry said.

The Saudi Embassy in Yemen closed Monday until further notice. Abdallah al-Khalidi, the Saudi envoy to Riyadh, was abducted in March.

The Yemeni Interior Ministry ordered security services to go on high alert and protect the embassy and its staff, the Yemen Post reports. The report adds an al-Qaida operative phoned the embassy asking for the release of militants in exchange for the diplomat.

Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Riyadh said it wouldn't negotiate with terrorists.

The Washington Post reported this week that CIA officials were seeking permission to conduct more strikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen believed to pose a security threat to U.S. interests. A missile fired allegedly from a CIA drone killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the spiritual leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen last year.

Yemeni security forces and al-Qaida militants have been fighting in south Yemen. At least seven al-Qaida fighters were killed during clashes Thursday.

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