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UK's Yemen embassy shuts over terror fears


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SANAA (Reuters) - Britain has closed its embassy in Yemen due to security concerns and has warned that "terrorists" were in the final stages of planning attacks against Western targets in the Arab state.

"The British embassy will be closed on January 5 in response to specific security concerns," an embassy advisory said on Wednesday but did not elaborate.

"As at December 30, there is specific information that terrorists are in the final stages of planning attacks against British targets and other Western targets in Yemen," it said.

It advised British citizens to be particularly vigilant in places frequented by foreigners such as hotels.

British diplomats and Yemeni officials were not immediately available for comment.

In 2003 Yemen said it had foiled planned attacks on U.S. and British embassies.

The impoverished country, the ancestral home of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, has cooperated closely with the U.S.-led "war on terror" and has arrested hundreds of al Qaeda suspects since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Last September, Yemen sentenced two al Qaeda militants to death for the 2000 bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole. A month earlier, five al Qaeda supporters were jailed for the 2002 bombing of a French supertanker and another militant was sentenced to death for planning to kill the U.S. ambassador.


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