Washington, London and Berlin, Paris have taken actions in response to threats of attack by al-Qaeda within days of the end of Ramadan. Saturday, Francois Hollande announced the closure of the Embassy of France in Yemen for several days. "We are directly and indirectly informed of threats that concern our operations abroad or our citizens, of al-Qaida," said the head of state, who asked the French nationals in Yemen "to exercise the greatest caution in their movements on the territory. "
"As part of our ongoing risk assessment, information was sufficiently serious that it compelled us to close the embassy," said a spokesman of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On site security was strengthened Sunday. Witnesses present in the neighborhoods east of Sanaa, reported that the army prevented access to the embassies of the United States and the United Kingdom, while soldiers, armed with automatic weapons, stood before the French representation. "There is a high level of coordination with the American camp, and these measures are taken because of fears of attacks by al-Qaeda," confirmed a Yemeni security official.
The United States had warned Friday against threats of attacks by al-Qaeda which could happen in August, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. The State Department had immediately announced the closure Sunday, a business day in most Muslim countries, 22 of its embassies in the Arab world, Israel, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Some will reopen on Monday in Kabul, Baghdad and Algiers, but others will remain closed until Saturday, said Sunday evening by the State Department. According to the American head of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, the exact target is not known but for al-Qaeda "is clear." "The idea is to attack Western interests, not just American," he said in an interview on American television, adding that the threats were "more specific" than usual.
Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, informed of the information collected by the intelligence services of the United States, said Sunday on NBC that discussions intercepted showed renewed exchanges between suspected terrorists, similar to that which preceded the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The "al-Qaeda elements are in place," said the representative Dutch Ruppersberg, member of the Commission on Intelligence of the House. The United States knows "because we received information that senior members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula suggest a major attack." "We believe this will most likely happen in the Middle East and around the embassy, but there is no guarantee," Rep. Peter King said.
Britain and Germany, which, like France, have closed their embassies in Sanaa, seem to focus their attention on Yemen. "Here we had elements that allow us to think that these threats were extremely serious," said Francois Hollande. The German Foreign Ministry mentioned the "risk of terrorist attacks in some remote parts of the country but also in the capital Sanaa." The Foreign Office in London is concerned for its part due to the proximity of the end of Ramadan, which ends on Wednesday, and the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, scheduled for Thursday.
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