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Yemen Travel Warning

Issued by U.S. Department of State

Apr 07, 2008

This Travel Warning updates information on security incidents in Yemen.  On April 7, the Department of State ordered the departure from Yemen of non-emergency American employees of the U.S. Embassy and eligible family members. The Department recommends that American citizens defer non-essential travel to Yemen.  American citizens remaining in Yemen despite this warning should monitor the U.S. Embassy website at http://yemen.usembassy.gov for updates on security concerns and should make contingency emergency plans.  This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued March 19, 2008.

The Department of State ordered the departure from Yemen of non-emergency American employees  of the U.S. Embassy and eligible family members following the April 6, 2008 attack on the Hadda residential compound in Sanaa in which three explosive rounds were fired into the compound.  This attack follows the March 18 mortar attack on the U.S. Embassy, which injured several Yemeni citizens in the vicinity of the Embassy.  Embassy employees are not authorized to travel outside of Sanaa and have been advised to avoid hotels, restaurants, and tourist areas and to strictly limit their exposure in public places until further notice.

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Yemen at this time. The security threat level remains high due to terrorist activities in Yemen. U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Yemen despite this warning should exercise caution and take prudent security measures, including maintaining a high level of vigilance, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, varying times and routes for all travel, and making contingency emergency plans such as  ensuring travel documents are current.  American citizens in Yemen are advised to exercise particular caution at locations frequented by foreigners countrywide including restaurants and hotels frequented by expatriates. From time to time, the Embassy may restrict official Americans from restaurants, hotels, or shopping areas. The Department of State strongly encourages American citizens to consult the most recent Warden Messages (http://usembassy.state.gov/yemen/citizen_services.html) to get  up-to-date information on security conditions. Americans who believe they are being followed or threatened while driving in urban centers should proceed as quickly as possible to the nearest police station or major intersection and request assistance from the officers in the blue-and-white police cars stationed there.

The Department remains concerned about possible attacks by extremist individuals or groups against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived interests. On January 17, 2008, suspected al-Qaida operatives ambushed a tourist convoy in the eastern Hadramout Governorate, killing two Belgians.  On July 2, 2007, suspected al-Qa'ida operatives carried out a vehicle-borne explosive device attack on tourists at the Belquis Temple in Marib, which resulted in the deaths of eight Spanish tourists and two Yemenis. The targeting of tourist sites by al-Qa'ida may represent an escalation in terror tactics in Yemen. In February 2006, 23 convicts, including known affiliates of al-Qa'ida, escaped from a high-security prison in the capital city, Sanaa, some of whom remain at large. Two of the escapees were later killed while participating in vehicle-based suicide attacks on oil facilities near Mukalla and Marib in September 2006. Those attacks were followed by the arrest the next day in Sanaa of four suspected al-Qaida operatives, who had stockpiled explosives and weapons.  

Since January 2007, the Government of Yemen has been battling al Houthi rebels in and around the northern governorate of Saada. While foreigners have not been targeted, hundreds of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the ongoing violence. U.S. citizens traveling in Yemen should be aware that local authorities occasionally place restrictions on the travel of foreigners to parts of the country experiencing unrest. In addition, the U.S. Embassy itself often restricts travel of official personnel to the tribal areas north and east of Sanaa, such as the governorates of Amran, Al Jawf, Hajja, Marib, Saada, and Shabwa. Travelers should be in contact with the Embassy for up-to-date information on such restrictions.

U.S. citizens should register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) to obtain updated information on travel and security in Yemen. This can be done online prior to arrival in Yemen at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967) (1) 755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. The fax number is (967) (1) 303-175. The after hours emergency number is (967) (1) 755-2000 (press zero for extension) or (967) 733213509. From time to time the Embassy may temporarily close or suspend public services for security reasons. Emergency assistance to U.S. citizens during non-business hours (or when public access is restricted) is available through Embassy duty personnel.

Current information on travel and security in Yemen may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada or, from outside the United States and Canada, 1-202-501-4444. U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information for Yemen, and the Worldwide Caution on the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at http://usembassy.state.gov/yemen/citizen_services.html.

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