The British embassy in Yemen is to be shut temporarily as part of a global anti-terror alert while several other embassies in the Middle East have been put on vigil.
The embassy in Sana’a, already operating with reduced staff, will be closed on Sunday and Monday as “a precautionary measure”, the Foreign Office said, without clarifying if the move was a result of a specific threat.
“The embassy will be closed on August 4 and 5. We have withdrawn a number of staff from Sana’a, due to increased security concerns. We updated our travel advice to Yemen on August 2 to reflect that,” a spokesperson said.
A number of British embassies in the Middle East have also been warned about the latest threat.
The spokesperson said, “We keep travel advice and the security of our staff and missions under constant review. Our travel advice advises particular vigilance during Ramadan, when tensions could be heightened. We are particularly concerned about the security situation in the final days of Ramadan and into Eid.”
The closure came as the UK Foreign Office issued further advice warning against all travel to Yemen and said British nationals who remain there are unlikely to be evacuated should violence escalate.
“There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Yemen...there is a very high threat of kidnap from armed tribes, terrorists and criminals,” the advice warns. The warning coincides with the US State Department’s global travel alert amid fears of possible terrorist attacks.
It is to close 21 embassies and consulates in the Middle East on Sunday after reportedly intercepting Al Qaeda messages.
However, unlike the US, the UK is keeping its embassies in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Iraq open, but it has advised staff to “exercise extra vigilance as we approach Eid”.