United States closes embassy in conflict-hit Yemen, others leave; Houthis seize US embassy vehicles

A general view of the U.S. embassy compound in Sanaa January 27, 2015.

(Reuters) – The United States is closing its embassy in Yemen, the Arabian peninsula state that is a front line in Washington’s war against al Qaeda, embassy employees and U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

U.S. officials in Washington confirmed the embassy would close because of the unpredictable security situation in a country where a rebel group has seized control of the capital, Sanaa.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined comment. But she noted that the embassy staff had been gradually reduced and said the safety of the personnel was a top priority. “We take steps in order to make sure we do everything we can to protect that,” she told a regular briefing.

Last month, Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim Houthi fighters, who had captured the capital in September, seized the presidential palace, driving President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government to resign.

After years of crisis, Yemen now risks descending into a full-blown civil war pitting regional, political, tribal and sectarian rivals against each other in a nation that shares a long border with top global oil exporter Saudi Arabia…

Britain withdraws embassy staff from Yemen over security concerns (France and Germany set to close also)

Thousands protest against Houthi rule in Yemen after embassies close

Yemen Houthi rebels seize U.S. embassy vehicles after diplomats leave: staff