Blasts cause U.S. embassy departures as citizens stay put – for now [Archives:2008/1145/Front Page]

April 10 2008

By: Sarah Wolff
SANA'A, April 9 ) After explosions hit a foreign residential compound earlier in the week, the United States embassy in Yemen has ordered their non-essential staff members to return, while non-official U.S. citizens living in Yemen wonder whether to stay or go home. A group calling themselves the Khaled bin Al-Walid Brigade, an arm of Al-Qaeda, attacked residential villas near Hadda street with three rounds of explosives on Sunday. The compound housed U.S. and other foreign employees of Safer Explorations and Productions, a Yemeni government-owned oil and gas company. Two of the three explosives landed inside the compound's gate and one landed outside the facility. There were no reported injuries.

Following the attack, the U.S. embassy released a statement that all of the non-emergency staff had been ordered to return to the states. Canadian Nexen and Occidental, two Canadian oil companies working in Yemen, have also sent home some of their staff members.

The embassy warned U.S. citizens and Yemenis about the fallout of this departure, saying that normal services like visa interviews may take much longer because of the lack of staff. The embassy also advises U.S. citizens to defer future travel to Yemen. “The security threat level remains high due to terrorist activities in Yemen