Washington: The US embassy in Yemen is closed to the public for the time being in response to a string of attacks on foreign diplomats in the past two months, the State Department said Wednesday.
"Due to recent attacks against Western interests in Yemen, we have temporarily suspended operations of our embassy in Sanaa to the public," Xinhua quoted spokesperson Jennifer Psaki as saying in a statement, describing the move as a "precautionary step".
Two French diplomats were killed and another injured Monday in an Al Qaeda assault in Sanaa, Yemen`s capital, becoming the latest casualties in the attacks on foreigners over the past two months.
At least six foreigners have been kidnapped in Sanaa over the period, including two British nationals and a German. Last week, suspected Al Qaeda gunmen fired at and injured a German diplomat in the city after he resisted a kidnapping attempt.
Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been holding an Iranian diplomat since July last year and a Saudi diplomat since May 2012.
The Yemeni government has waged a wide-scale assault on Al Qaeda strongholds in the country`s southern territories since last week, killing scores of militants. The group has vowed to hit back.
"We continue to evaluate the security situation every day, and we will reopen the embassy to the public once it is deemed appropriate," Psaki said.
"The United States remains firmly committed to supporting Yemen as it works to achieve meaningful reform through its ongoing transition process and to enhance security for the Yemeni people, " she added.
The Obama administration has stepped up drone strikes on the AQAP for the past two years.
The US embassy in Sanaa was last closed for about two weeks in August last year due to terrorism threats, along with some two dozens of other American diplomatic missions across the Middle East and North Africa.