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U.S. embassy staff ordered to leave Yemen

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  • Non-emergency U.S. embassy workers ordered to leave Yemen
  • Order comes day after rocket attack on Western housing complex
  • U.S. citizens urged not to travel to Yemen
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States ordered non-emergency employees of its embassy in Yemen to leave the country Monday.

The order came a day after a rocket attack on a compound that houses Western and other international oil workers. No injuries were reported. It also follows attacks that have targeted the U.S. Embassy and killed two Belgians and eight Spaniards in the last two years, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

"The security threat level remains high due to terrorist activities in Yemen," the department said. "The department remains concerned about possible attacks by extremist individuals or groups against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses and perceived interests."

U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to Yemen, the department's travel advisory said.

The advisory cited several recent attacks in Yemen, including a March 18 mortar attack on the U.S. embassy that injured several Yemeni civilians and temporarily closed the embassy. It also referred to a January 17 ambush by suspected al Qaeda operatives that killed two Belgians.

The advisory also cited a vehicle-bombing attack that killed eight Spanish tourists in Yemen on July 2, 2007; the escape in September 2006 of 23 convicts, including "known affiliates of al Qaeda;" and the arrest the next day of four suspected al Qaeda operatives "who had stockpiled explosives and weapons." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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