American citizens were urged to leave Yemen Tuesday after the threat of terrorist attacks in the country, a strong hold for terrorist organization al Qaeda, escalated.
The heightened evacuation orders came down after the U.S. said it intercepted communications between al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri and the terror organization's Yemen affiliate about plans for a major attack in the country.
On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department released a statement encouraging U.S. citizens including all non emergency government staff to evacuate Yemen, calling the "security threat level in Yemen is extremely high."
The heightened alert comes on the heels of news that at least four suspected al Qaeda members were killed in a U.S. drone strike in the Yemeni province of Marib early on Tuesday. According to Yemeni officials, the drone fired a missile into a car containing the suspects, setting it on fire and killing its occupants.
On Monday, the U.S. ordered 19 of its embassies in the Middle East and North Africa to remain closed due to the continued terrorist threat.
Shortly after the United States issued its evacuation order, Great Britain followed. Britain's Foreign Office released a statement saying that British embassy staff in Yemen had been "temporarily withdrawn to the U.K."