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U.S. Closes Embassy In Yemen, Evacuates Staff Over Deteriorating Security

The move comes days after Yemen's Houthi Shiite rebels announced they had dissolved the parliament and taken over the country. Germany, France, Britain, and Italy have also temporarily closed their embassies.

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A string of countries, including Britain, France, Italy and Germany rushed to close their embassies and pull their staff over security fears in Yemen.

“The security situation in Yemen has continued to deteriorate over recent days,” Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood said according to the BBC. “Regrettably we now judge that our Embassy staff and premises are at increased risk.”

The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement about the closure.

"Given the recent political developments, and for security reasons, the Embassy invites you to temporarily leave Yemen, as soon as possible, via commercial flights at your convenience," the statement said. "The Embassy will temporarily be closed as of Friday, February 13, 2015, until further notice."

Italian, German , Dutch, and Saudi Arabian officials announced in statmements that their embassies will also be temporarily closing.

The U.S. State Department confirmed the embassy closing in a travel warning issued late Tuesday, citing "terrorist activities and civil unrest."

The statement urged all U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Yemen and those currently in the country to depart. American diplomats were also evacuated out of the country.

"The level of instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain extremely concerning, and there are no plans for a U.S. government-sponsored evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time," the State Department said. "We encourage U.S. citizens wishing to depart to do so via commercial transportation options. If you wish to depart Yemen, you should make plans to depart as soon as possible."

Yemenis who work at the embassy in Sanaa said that the U.S. ambassador informed them on Tuesday that the facility is closing down, Reuters reported.

The employees claimed that the U.S. is considering having the Turkish or Albanian embassies look after its interests while its mission is closed.

All U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance should contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country, the State Department said.

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The rebels, known as Huthis, overran the country’s presidential palace in January.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his cabinet resigned after the rebel invasion.

The rebels' declaration on Friday heightened fears that the country could descend into a sectarian war.

Despite reports that Huthis had seized American vehicles and weapons, staffers on Wednesday said that sensitive material was destroyed before fleeing.

U.S. embassy staff in Yemen destroyed weapons, computers and documents before closing and evacuating diplomats: local members of staff

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U.S. embassy staff in Yemen destroyed weapons, computers and documents before closing and evacuating diplomats: local members of staff

10:43 AM - 11 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at stephanie.mcneal@buzzfeed.com.

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