Aug. 7 - Fearing al-Qaeda violence U.S. and British embassies evacuate staff from Yemen. Jessica Gray reports.
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Foreign nationals head to Yemen's airport in Sanaa amid U.S. and British embassy evacuation orders over growing fears of an al Qaeda attack.
President Barack Obama said the threat was significant.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING:
" We had already done a lot to bolster embassy security around the world, but especially in the Middle East, North Africa where the threats tend to be highest, and whenever we see a threat stream we think is specific enough that we can take some specific precautions within a certain time frame then we do so."
The evacuations follow Washington's decision earlier to close several embassies and consulates across the Middle East and North Africa over similar security concerns.
Impoverished Yemen is the base of one of the al Qaeda's most active branches.
U.S. sources told Reuters that intercepted communications between the group's head Ayman al-Zawahri and its Yemen wing contributed to last week's alert.
The country is also an al Qaeda staging ground for attacks against the West, including bombings targeting U.S. vessels in 2000 and a deadly assault on the American embassy in 2008 that killed 16 people.
Yemeni authorities have released a list of the 25 "most-wanted terrorists" who were planning violence during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, which starts Thursday.
The government is offering rewards for information leading to their capture.
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