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Cablegate: Travel Warning - Yemen

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 086597

SIPDIS

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

1. This Travel Warning is being issued to inform American
citizens that the Department of State has lifted the
ordered departure status of non-emergency American
employees and adult family members of all employees at the
U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. 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 and should make contingency
emergency plans. This supersedes the Travel Warning for
Yemen issued April 7, 2008.

2. The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens
defer non-essential travel to Yemen at this time. The
security threat level remains high due to terrorist
activities in Yemen. Several explosions targeted the
embassy compound on March 18. The explosions injured
several Yemeni citizens, including government security
personnel and schoolchildren. Embassy employees have been
advised to exercise caution when choosing restaurants,
hotels or visiting tourist areas in Sanaa in order to
avoid large gatherings of foreigners and expatriates. In
addition, unofficial travel outside of the capital is not
authorized at this time.

3. 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. 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://yemen.usembassy.gov/service.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.

4. 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, Sanaa, 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 Sanaa of four suspected al
Qa'ida operatives, who had stockpiled explosives and
weapons.

5. Since January 2007, the Government of Yemen had been
battling al Houthi rebels in and around the northern
governorate of Saada. While foreigners have not been

STATE 00086597 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 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.

6. 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

7. 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.

8. 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

9. Minimize considered.
RICE

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