The State Department has ordered the U.S. Embassy in Yemen evacuated as a result of the threat by al-Qaida that has triggered temporary shutdowns of 19 American diplomatic posts across the Middle East and Africa.

US Embassy in Yemen under guard (YouTube)

The State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen "due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks."

The travel warning says U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should depart and calls the security threat level in Yemen "extremely high."

A U.S. intelligence official and a Mideast diplomat told The Associated Press that the current shutdown was instigated by an intercepted secret message between al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri and his deputy in Yemen about plans for a major terror attack.

Suspected US drone kills 4 in Yemen

Yemeni security officials say a suspected U.S. drone has killed four alleged al-Qaida members in a volatile eastern province.

The officials say the drone fired a missile early today and hit a car carrying the four men in the al-Arqeen district of Marib province, setting it on fire and killing all of them.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to talk to the media, believed that one of the dead is Saleh Jouti, a senior al-Qaida member.

The strike is the fourth in less than two weeks. Three similar attacks have hit cars belonging to alleged al-Qaida figures in southern Yemen.

Washington considers al-Qaida's Yemeni branch one of the world's most dangerous terrorist groups.

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