American concern about the threat of an al-Qaeda attack is only intensifying. The State Department today ordered all non-essential government employees to leave Yemen, and it urged all American citizens there to do the same, reports Reuters. The development comes after news reports revealed that one of the key pieces of intelligence prompting all this concern were intercepted messages between al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri and the leader of Yemen affiliate al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Nasser al-Wuhayshi. Other developments:
- Drone strike: A suspected American drone strike killed four members of al-Qaeda traveling in a car in central Yemen overnight, reports the BBC.
- Buzzing the capital: A manned US surveillance plane was spotted flying over the capital of Sanaa, a rarity for the relatively quiet city, reports the AP.
- Not reopening soon: The US might keep some of its embassies and consulates closed for the entire month of August, reports the Guardian.
- Red Sea threat? The AP also reports that Yemeni officials are particularly concerned about an attack on the Ba al-Mandeb straits at the entrance to the Red Sea. The straits are vital to international shipping.