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Cablegate: Travel Warning - Yemen

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180202Z SEP 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI IMMEDIATE 2941
RUEHFSI/DIR FSINFATC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA 6992
RUCPDOC/ALL USDOC DISTDIR COLLECTIVE WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/CDRAMC FT BELVOIR VA//AMCMI-SS//
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC//XOXXI//
RHMCSUU/HQ AFOSI DOQ ANDREWS AFB MD//IVOA//
RHMCSUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC//ACI-400//
RHMCSUU/COMNAVAIRSYSCOM PATUXENT RIVER MD//AIR1031B//
RHMFIUU/NRC WASHINGTON DC//INFOSEC//
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ2-JIT//
RUCPCIM/CIM NTDB WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/COGARD INTELCOORDCEN WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 099734

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC PTER ASEC YM
SUBJECT: TRAVEL WARNING - YEMEN

1. This Travel Warning updates information on security
incidents in Yemen and reminds U.S. citizens of the high
security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist
activities. The Department of State
has authorized the departure of non-emergency personnel
and eligible family members of the U.S. Embassy in
Sana'a.
The Department recommends that American citizens defer
non-essential travel to Yemen. U.S. citizens remaining
in Yemen despite this warning should monitor the U.S.
Embassy website at http://yemen.usembassy.gov and should
make contingency emergency plans. This supersedes the
Travel Warning for Yemen issued August 13, 2008.

2. The security threat level remains high due to
terrorist activities in Yemen. On September 17 at
approximately 9:15 a.m. local time, armed terrorists
attacked the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen. A number of
explosions occurred in the vicinity of the Embassy's main
gate. Several Yemeni security personnel were killed, as
were a few individuals waiting to gain entry to the
Embassy.
3. U.S. embassy employees have been advised to exercise
caution when choosing restaurants, hotels or visiting
tourist areas in Sana'a in order to avoid large
gatherings of foreigners and expatriates. In addition,
unofficial travel outside of the capital is not
authorized at this time.
4. 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
ensuring travel documents are current. U.S. citizens in
Yemen are advised to exercise particular caution at
locations frequented by foreigners countrywide including
restaurants and hotels. From time to time, the Embassy
may restrict official Americans from restaurants, hotels,
or shopping areas. The Department of State strongly
encourages U.S. citizens to consult the most recent
Warden Messages
(http://yemen.usembassy.gov/service.html)
to get up-to-date information on security conditions.
U.S. citizens 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.
5. 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-Qa'ida
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. On February 3, 2006, 23
convicts, including known affiliates of al-Qa'ida,
escaped from a high-security prison in the capital city,
Sana'a, some of whom remain at large. Two of the
escapees were later killed in vehicle-based suicide
attacks on oil facilities near Mukalla and Marib on
September 15, 2006. Those attacks were followed by the
arrest the next day in Sana'a of four suspected al Qa'ida
operatives, who had stockpiled explosives and weapons.
6. 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

STATE 00099734 002 OF 002


targeted, hundreds of soldiers and civilians have been
killed in the 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 Sana'a,
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.
7. U.S. citizens should register at the Consular Section
of the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a 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.
8. 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.
9. 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
addressed at http://yemen.usembassy.gov/service.html.


10. Minimize considered.
RICE

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