, SANAA, Jan 3 – The American embassy in Yemen closed on Sunday in response to ongoing Al-Qaeda threats to attack US interests, an embassy statement said.
"The US Embassy in Sanaa is closed today, January 3, 2010, in response to ongoing threats by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to attack American interests in Yemen," said the statement posted on the embassy\\\\\\\’s website.
On Thursday the US mission sent a warden message to American citizens in the country reminding them of the "continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against American citizens and interests throughout the world."
AQAP had called on Monday for further attacks on Westerners in the Arabian Peninsula as it claimed the failed Christmas Day attack on a US airliner.
"We call upon every Muslim who cares about his religion and doctrine to assist in expelling the apostasies from the Arabian Peninsula, by killing every crusader who works at their embassies or other places, declare it an all-out war against every crusader on Mohammad\\\\\\\’s peninsula on land, air and sea," said an AQAP statement.
The United States and Britain have agreed to fund special counter-extremism police in Yemen after US President Barack Obama on Saturday for the first time blamed the Al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen for the thwarted attack.
On September 17, 2008, the US embassy was the target of an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda in which 19 people were killed – seven attackers and 12 others, including Yemeni guards and civilians, one of them an American woman.
Last month the defence ministry newspaper said that a raid north of the capital on December 17 killed four suspects and foiled a plot to bomb the British embassy in Sanaa.
Yemen on Sunday welcomed the British and US decision to fund its counter-extremism force.
"Any assistance provided to Yemen\\\\\\\’s counter-terrorism force will be most welcome," a government official who requested anonymity told AFP.
The official also said that Sanaa would also need help to modernise its coastguard "in light of the danger coming from Somalia."
Somalia\\\\\\\’s Shebab insurgents pledged on Friday to send militants across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen to help the Al-Qaeda affiliate behind the failed US airliner bombing.