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US closes embassy in Yemen, asks Americans to leave the country

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WASHINGTON (AP) —Faced with a deteriorating security situation, the U.S. Embassy in Yemen is asking Americans to leave and has moved staffers out of the country.

The State Department is confirming it has closed the U.S. Embassy and evacuated its staff because of the political crisis and security concerns following the takeover of much of the country by Shiite rebels.

The department announced late Tuesday that it had suspended operations at the embassy in Sanaa and relocated its remaining diplomatic personnel “due to the ongoing political instability and the uncertain security situation.” The embassy had been operating with only a skeleton staff for some weeks amid deteriorating conditions.

Yemen has been in crisis for months, with Iran-linked Shiite Houthi rebels besieging the capital and then taking control. Earlier Tuesday, U.S. officials said the embassy closure would not affect counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida’s Yemen branch.