US embassy reopens in Yemen after raid

SANAA - The American embassy in Yemen reopened yesterday after a raid near Sanaa that killed two al Qaeda militants addressed specific security concerns that had forced US and European missions to close, the embassy said.

SANAA - The American embassy in Yemen reopened yesterday after a raid near Sanaa that killed two al Qaeda militants addressed specific security concerns that had forced US and European missions to close, the embassy said.

Violence flared up in the Yemen-Saudi border area, where Shi'ite rebels waging a revolt against the central government said a barrage of Saudi air strikes on a market had flattened shops and homes, killing two people and wounding three more.

Yemen, the poorest Arab country, was thrust into the foreground of the US-led war against Islamist militants after a Yemen-based wing of al Qaeda said it was behind a Christmas Day bomb attempt on a US-bound plane.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has said fighting in Yemen was a threat to regional and global stability.

"Successful counter-terrorism operations conducted by the government of Yemen security forces on January 4 north of the capital have addressed a specific area of concern, and have contributed to the embassy's decision to resume operations," the US embassy said in a statement.

It said the embassy, a fortified structure with big concrete slabs to guard against attacks, reopened after a two-day closure prompted by credible information pointing to the "likelihood of imminent terrorist attacks in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa".

Yemen is trying to fight a threat from resurgent al Qaeda fighters while a Shi'ite revolt rages in the north and separatist sentiment simmers in the south.

The West and Saudi Arabia fear al Qaeda will take advantage of Yemen's instability to spread its operations to the neighbouring kingdom, the world's biggest oil exporter, and beyond. Yemen itself produces a small amount of oil.

US President Barack Obama has asked for as much as $63million (R460millon) in aid for Yemen in this year - up from about $40million (R292million) last year. - Reuters

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