Page last updated at 09:53 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

US embassy in Yemen reopens after strikes on al-Qaeda

Woman walks past a soldier in Sanaa (file)
The US said Yemeni forces had addressed a specific area of concern

The US embassy in Yemen has reopened after "successful counter-terrorism operations" by Yemeni security forces north of the capital on Monday.

The embassy had closed on Sunday in response to what it had said were al-Qaeda threats, with the British and French embassies following suit.

On Tuesday, the US embassy said on its website that Yemeni security forces had addressed a "specific area of concern".

The British and French embassies are operating but closed to the public.

"Successful counter-terrorism operations conducted by the government of Yemen security forces January 4 north of the capital have addressed a specific area of concern, and have contributed to the embassy's decision to resume operations," the US embassy said.

The statement apparently referred to an operation on Monday, some 25 miles north of Sanaa, in which two suspected members of al-Qaeda were killed.

The difficulties of travel within Yemen have prevented the BBC from independently verifying details of the raid.

But the BBC's Jeremy Bowen, in Sanaa, says he saw military jets flying over the capital on Monday afternoon and into the evening, suggesting some kind of operation was under way.

'Global threat'

American intelligence officials say the failed plot to bomb a US-bound jet on 25 December originated in Yemen - where the suspect was allegedly trained by al-Qaeda.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said instability in Yemen was a global as well as regional threat.

She said the Yemeni government had to take measures to restore stability or risk losing Western support.

Correspondents say the security situation in Yemen is complicated by an abundance of firearms, an insurgency in the north and a secessionist movement in the south.

But the prospects of reasserting central government authority over the lawless areas where al-Qaeda is based look, in the opinion of some analysts, remote - even with beefed-up American support

The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) last week said it had been behind the alleged plot to bomb the Detroit-bound aircraft.

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