Yemen Says 2 Militants Killed as Foreign Embassies Remain Closed

BY News Desk  January 4, 2010 at 12:59 PM EDT

Updated 5:42pm ET

The link between the two alleged al-Qaida militants killed in Monday’s raid in Yemen and the security threats that led U.S. and other foreign embassies to close remains unconfirmed.
The Associated Press reports that in Monday’s clashes, Yemeni security forces attacked a group of al-Qaida militants moving through the mountainous area of Arhab, northeast of the capital, security officials told the news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Yemeni government forces killed two alleged al-Qaida militants they said were behind a security threat that led U.S. and European embassies to close, officials told news organizations Monday.

“Security authorities had been monitoring them for several days and struck today,” a Yemeni security official told Reuters.

The U.S. embassy in Sana’a remained closed for a second day in response to security threats. Britain’s embassy has also been closed since Sunday. Other European countries, including France and Italy, limited access to their embassies on Monday, as did Japan.

“Groups claiming to represent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have threatened foreign representatives in Yemen,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the situation in Yemen was a threat to both regional and global stability and that a decision on reopening the U.S. embassy in the country would be made “as conditions permit.”

“We see global implications from the war in Yemen and the ongoing efforts by al-Qaida in Yemen to use it as a base for terrorist attacks far beyond the region,” Clinton said in Washington after a meeting with the visiting prime minister of Qatar. Concerns continue to grow about the [stability of Yemen](http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/terrorism/july-dec09/yemen2_12-29.html). The country has been emerging as a base for al-Qaida as the group comes under pressure in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a merger group of al-Qaida offshoots from Saudi Arabia and Yemen and based in Yemen, is being blamed for a Dec. 25 bomb plot in which Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was charged with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight with 278 passengers as it landed in Detroit. In a visit to Yemeni military bases Monday, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said his government would defeat “anyone who thinks to harm the country and its security, stability and unity,” the official Saba News Agency reported, [according to the Washington Post](http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/04/AR2010010400414.html?hpid=topnews). Saleh called the Yemeni armed forces “the solid rock on which all forms of plots [by insurgents] and al-Qaida terrorists have crashed.” President Obama is convening his national security team for a [White House meeting](http://www.politico.com/politico44/) on Tuesday to discuss the [lapses in security ](http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/terrorism/july-dec09/intel_12-31.html)that were revealed by the failed attempt to detonate an explosive on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day. *On Monday’s NewsHour, analysts will take a closer look at Yemen and how U.S. policy toward the country should be crafted in the weeks ahead.*