US Evacuates Personnel From Yemen Following Droning Of Four Al Qaeda Militants
Embassy evacuations are so last week. In an apparent escalation of the threat level to some unspecified color, earlier today the U.S. Air Force flew some American personnel out of Sanaa, Yemen, the Pentagon said, as the United States told its citizens to leave the country and ordered the evacuation of non-essential government staff "because of a terror threat." Reuters quotes Pentagon spokesman George Little who said in a statement that "in response to a request from the U.S. State Department, early this morning the U.S. Air Force transported personnel out of Sanaa, Yemen, as part of a reduction in emergency personnel." He did not specify which types of personnel were involved or where they were taken. "The U.S. Department of Defense continues to have personnel on the ground in Yemen to support the U.S. State Department and monitor the security situation," the statement said.
This is taking place as the US makes even more friends in the middle east, following what CNN reports were a pair of suspected U.S. drone strikes killing four al Qaeda militants in Yemen. As of this posting it was unclear what the "collateral damage" in terms of innocent civilians was, in the execution of said four militants, who one assumes are not affiliated with the al Qaeda "militants" on the ground in Syria, or those that are supported by the US and its allies.
More from CNN:
Security sources told CNN about the strikes but didn't offer additional details. A Yemeni official said four drone strikes have been carried out in the past 10 days.
None of those killed on Tuesday were among the 25 names on the country's most-wanted list, security officials said.
It is unclear whether the strikes were related to the added security alert in the country after U.S. officials intercepted a message from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to operatives in Yemen telling them to "do something." The message was sent to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group's Yemeni affiliate. U.S. intelligence believes al-Wuhayshi has recently been appointed the overall terror organization's No. 2 leader.
Also Tuesday, the State Department urged Americans in Yemen to leave immediately, citing terrorist activities and civil unrest. All non-emergency U.S. government personnel were also told to leave.
Two U.S. military transport aircraft landed in Yemen on Tuesday to evacuate American citizens.
"In response to a request from the U.S. State Department, early this morning the U.S. Air Force transported personnel out of Sana'a, Yemen, as part of a reduction in emergency personnel," Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement.
Little also said, "The U.S. Department of Defense continues to have personnel on the ground in Yemen to support the U.S. State Department and monitor the security situation."
The UK Foreign Office also announced it had temporarily withdrawn all staff from the British embassy and would keep the facility shut until employees are able to return.
On Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that U.S. anti-terrorism efforts had decimated al Qaeda's global leadership and greatly diminished its core in Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying the threat had "shifted to some of these affiliates, in particular AQAP."
And the punchline:
Three sources told CNN that the United States has information that members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are in the final stages of planning for an unspecified attack.
Turns out what was unsaid is that the unspecified attack was to be conducted by the US, not against it.
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