WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department told American citizens in Yemen to leave immediately and airlifted U.S. government personnel out of the country.
Reuters reports that the State Department closed the majority of embassies and other diplomatic missions in the Middle East region.
Some surmise that this was a direct reaction to last year’s Benghazi consulate attacks, where four Americans (including the U.S. ambassador) were killed by al-Qaeda in Libya.
Yemen is the base for one of the most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda, called al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
American sources say that they discovered communication between Osama bin Laden’s successor Ayman al-Zawahri and the Yemeni al-Qaeda wing. The British are also temporarily evacuating their diplomatic staff on the ground in Yemen.