Britain has issued the highest possible security alert to British shipping companies operating off the coast of Yemen, an expert says, amid a worldwide terror alert focused on the country.
Neil Roberts, a senior insurance underwriter at Lloyd’s Market Association, said the Department for Transport had issued a “level three” warning about Yemen on Monday.
Under the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code, level three is “exceptional”, suggesting a “probable or imminent risk of a security incident”.
Insurers have listed Yemen as a high-risk area for at least the last five years, requiring shipping companies to alert their underwriters before they head to the country.
But Roberts said that the government advice suggested a more pressing threat.
“They have put it at security level three, which is unusual,” he said on Tuesday.
“This is a wake-up call for British shipowners that the risk has increased significantly.”
Meanwhile, the United States has evacuated 75 embassy staff from the Yemeni capital, after both the US and United Kingdom told their citizens to leave due to the threat of “terrorist attacks.”
The US citizens were flown out of the country on military aircraft on Tuesday, according to the Pentagon, which declined to comment further, citing security concerns.
The new US measures, announced in a statement on Tuesday, followed a heightened security warning from Washington on Friday that prompted the closure of several Western embassies in Yemen and several US missions across the Middle East and Africa.
It also came after at least four suspected al-Qaeda members were killed in what local tribal leaders said was a US drone strike in central Yemen early on Tuesday.
“The Department urges US citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those US citizens currently living in Yemen to depart immediately,” the statement posted on its website said.
The UK’s foreign office, meanwhile, advised against all travel to Yemen, and “strongly urge[d] British nationals to leave now”. It said that all British embassy staff had been temporarily withdrawn from the country.
Italy also urged its citizens to leave, citing the “particularly high risk of kidnap,” while the UN’s refugee agency boosted security, though it did not withdraw its personnel.
Tuesday’s warning came after US media reports indicated that the increased threat levels were the result of what US intelligence officials said were intercepted communications between top al-Qaeda leaders.
The New York Times reported on Monday that the closure of the embassies was the result of intercepted electronic communications between Ayman al-Zawahri, who replaced Osama bin Laden as head of al-Qaeda, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of Yemen-based affiliate al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
US sources said that while some type of message between Zawahri and AQAP was intercepted recently, there were also other streams of intelligence that contributed to the security alert, which was prompted by a threat from AQAP.
“The threat picture is based on a broad range of reporting, there is no smoking gun in this threat picture,” a US official told the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity.
US officials said there was still no information about a specific target or location of a potential attack, but the threat to Western interests had not diminished.
US President, Donald Trump, Wife Test Positive For Covid-19
President of the United States, Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19.
The President took to his official Twitter handle on Friday to make this announcement.
Trump was last seen in public on Thursday afternoon, returning to the White House after a fundraising trip to New Jersey.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
On Thursday, he announced that his aide, Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus which has killed over 1 million people around the world.
He further revealed that he and the first lady had taken the test and waiting for the results before announcing the outcome on Friday.
Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
Mali: N’Daw, Coup Leader Goita Sworn In As President, VP
Retired Army Colonel, Bah N’Daw has been sworn in on Friday as the interim president of Mali and he is to head a transitional government following last month’s military coup in the country.
The swearing-in ceremony held in the country’s capital city of Bamako, where Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.
This administration is to lead the government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.
It will be recalled that the country’s military executed a coup last month (August 18) which successfully removed the nation’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from office.
Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, attended the ceremony alongside other members of the ECOWAS mediation team.
Today, we witnessed the swearing-in of His Excellency Mr. Bah N'daw and Colonel Assimi Goita as President and Vice President of Mali's Transition Govt. The #Ecowas mediation team congratulates these new Malian leaders and wish them success.
– GEJ pic.twitter.com/TQ9kinviQN
— Goodluck E. Jonathan (@GEJonathan) September 25, 2020
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