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U.S. State Department Suspends Operations In Yemen

Supporters of Houthi Shiites, who took over the government of Yemen and installed a new committee to govern, dance with traditional daggers at a rally in support of the Houthis, at a sports stadium in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015.

The U.S. embassy in Yemen is suspending operations because of the deteriorating security situation. The country has been gripped by turmoil since President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi and his cabinet resigned in January. Shiite Houthi rebels have since seized control of the capital, Sanaa, placed Hadi and his ministers under arrest and announced plans to form another another government.

The volatile political and security situation forced the U.S. to reduce personnel beginning in September. On Sunday the embassy suspended all consular services. The embassy said any U.S. citizen in need of emergency assistance should contact an American embassy or consulate in a neighboring country. The State Department says it continues to assess the situation.

Hadi was a key U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The U.S. has for several years carried out counterterrorism operations against AQAP. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said today that will continue despite the fact that the U.S. does not recognize Yemen's new government.

Psaki also says the U.S. remains engaged with all parties on the ground, including the Houthis, to find a way forward.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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