U.S. temporarily suspends operations at Yemen embassy

By Danielle Haynes

SANAA, Yemen, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. embassy in Yemen is temporarily suspending all operations and withdrawing all staff due to increasing unrest, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

Senior officials confirmed the temporary closure to ABC News, saying the few remaining staffers at the embassy -- including Ambassador Matthew Tueller -- would be evacuated within the next 24 hours. The remaining staffers were being guarded by about 100 U.S. Marines.


U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not confirm the closure, but said the department's "focus remains on what's in the best interests of our staff."

The closure comes amid heightened tensions in the capital of Sanaa, where Shiite Houthi rebels took control last month. The rebels dissolved parliament and took over the government last week after putting President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on house arrest and forcing his resignation.

State Department officials told ABC News they don't plan to abandon the embassy in Sanaa. Turkey and Algeria have reportedly been assigned to protect the embassy while the staff is evacuated.

This is the third U.S. embassy to be closed in the Middle East and North Africa in the last few years due to security concerns. The embassies in Damascus, Syria, and Tripoli, Libya, were closed in 2012 and 2014 respectively.


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