French embassy to stay closed over attack fears

France's embassy in Yemen will remain closed for at least four more days over fears of an imminent Al-Qaeda attack, the foreign ministry announced on Wednesday.

French embassy to stay closed over attack fears
Libyan security services and civilians gather across the street after a car bomb attack on the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya on April 23rd. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

France's embassy in Yemen will remain closed for at least four more days, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, over fears of an imminent Al-Qaeda attack.

"The French embassy in Sanaa will stay closed until August 11 inclusive," a ministry spokesman told reporters, adding that steps would be taken "to limit the presence of diplomatic personnel to a minimum."

French nationals in Yemen were advised not to travel and to stay aware of developments in the country.

France was among several Western nations to close their embassies in the Yemeni capital on August 4 after the United States issued a worldwide alert fearing a possible Al-Qaeda attack.

In May the French foreign office announced it was to spend €20 million on boosting security at its diplomatic missions in Africa and the Middle East after a car bomb attack on its embassy in Libya.

The April 23 attack wounded two French guards and caused extensive damage.

"We must continue to upgrade the security at our facilities, acquire mobile protection equipment and adapted vehicles, increase the security budget and allocate more staff to security," ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said at the time.

He said the new measures would be partly funded through the sale of properties and the re-allocation of resources, but did not elaborate.

France has increased the alert level at its embassies in the region due to the attack in Libya, its military intervention in Mali and the breaking up of an Al-Qaeda-linked cell in Egypt that reportedly planned to bomb the US and French embassies in Cairo.

US President Barack Obama last week also urged Congress to fund upgrades to US embassy security around the world amid controversy over the handling of theSeptember 11 attack last year on the US mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including ambassador Chris Stevens.

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