Following news about planned attacks in SanaaUS embassy reduces staff [Archives:2003/629/Local News]

March 31 2003

Reuters & Yemen Times Staff
The United States offered free flights home for some staff at its embassy in Sanaa Friday because of what it called 'credible reports of planned attacks on U.S. interests' there.
The offer, known as an authorized departure, applies to adult relatives of embassy staff and to “non-emergency personnel,” the State Department said in a travel warning.
The United States had already made the Yemeni capital Sanaa a post to which embassy staff may not bring their children.
“Due to credible reports that terrorists have planned attacks against U.S. interests in Yemen and heightened tensions and increased security concerns resulting from the current situation in the region, the security threat to all American citizens in Yemen remains high,” the warning said.
It repeated a warning that all U.S. citizens put off any plans to visit Yemen because of the alleged threats and the tension over the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The Washington Post had also reported on Saturday that authorities in Yemen have broken up plots by Iraqis who were preparing to bomb Western targets in the country in recent days, according to U.S. government officials.
“Yemeni authorities raided a house in the capital city of Sanaa Wednesday night, where they arrested a small group of Iraqis and seized a cache of explosives that they believe were to be used against the U.S. and British embassies.” the paper said.
On another level, after Iraq, Yemen will be the next target of the United States, said Sundeep Waslekar, president of the Strategic Foresight Group, a Mumbai-based think-tank on foreign policy, security and governance issues.
Waslekar claims to have accurately predicted the US attack on Iraq way back in September 2001 and has released two reports on the future of India and Pakistan.
This prediction contradicts with the fact that Yemen has been a strong ally of the US, especially concerning the war against terror.