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Embassy closures extend to UK, France, and Germany

The three nations are closing their embassies in Yemen for at least two days prompted by global security alerts, following 21 US embassy closures and travel warnings.

1024px us embassy in kabul on july 4th 2010Enlarge
The US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Kabul Official July 4th Celebration/Wikimedia commons)

Following the lead of US foreign office closures prompted by a possible Al Qaeda security threat, the UK, France and Germany have announced that they will close their embassies in Yemen. 

The French, British and German embassies in the Yemeni city of Sanaa will all be shuttered on Sunday and Monday, the BBC reports, while other UK diplomatic posts in the Middle East have also been warned to be on "high alert."

Read more from GlobalPost: Embassy shutdowns happen, but not usually on this scale 

A British government notice advised "against all travel to Yemen" and strongly urged "British nationals to leave [Yemen] now." It added that if UK residents do not leave the country promptly while air travel is still operating as usual, "it is extremely unlikely that the British government will be able to evacuate you or provide consular assistance."

Twenty-one US embassies and consulates will be closed, including facilities in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Yemen. Washington also issued an overseas travel warning.

Australia has put security under review at its embassies in the Middle East too, News.com.au reports, although no plans are currently in the works to shutter the facilities.

Interpol mass jailbreak alert

Meanwhile on Saturday, Interpol issued a global security alert in connection with large jailbreaks the international police body said freed hundreds of "terrorists and other criminals" in nine different nations.

Interpol said it suspects Al Qaeda involvment in several of the breakouts.

It asked its 190 member nations to help Interpol "determine whether any of these recent events are coordinated and linked," and to immediately report any signs of terrorist activity.

Interpol noted that August marks the anniversary of deadly militant attacks in Mumbai, Gluboky, Russia and Jakarta.

It also said this week marks "the 15th anniversary of the US Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in which more than 200 mostly African citizens were killed and 4,000 others injured."

Washington's global alert — near the end of Islam's Ramadan fasting month — appears to be linked to Al Qaeda electronic communications that have been intercepted by US intelligence this week, The New York Times reported, describing attacks that would be centered on American interests in the Middle East and North Africa.

“A decision to close this many embassies and issue a global travel warning for a month suggests the threat is real, advanced and imminent but the intelligence is incomplete on where,” Brookings Institution scholar Bruce Riedel told the Times. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/politics/diplomacy/130803/embassy-closures-extend-uk-france-and-germany