Yemen's been an unsafe travel destination for at least a decade, but recent events have made it treacherous. Protests against Israel's occupation of the Palestinian Territories have grown increasingly large and violent. The Yemeni government is cooperating with the US in its war on terrorism, but the Yemeni people are not happy about that. Public anger at the US is high, and bound to intensify as more US troops are deployed to Yemen. The US State Department warns that senior Al-Qaeda operatives reside in Yemen and that they've received credible threats of terrorism against US interests there.
The US and Australian governments have issued renewed travel warnings advising their citizens not to go to Yemen, and suggesting that those who are already there consider leaving as soon as possible. The British government also strongly advises against travel to Yemen. Those considering visiting the country should check with their government for security advice.
Travellers who decide to stay in Yemen are advised not to frequent known American or ex-pat hangouts including: ex-pat hotels and restaurants, the Sanaa Trade Center, American franchises and shops and restaurants in the Haddah district of Sanaa. The port city of Aden is also considered unsafe. The warnings urge foreigners in Yemen to be vigilant, to vary travel times and to avoid crowds and demonstrations. If foreigners feel that they are being threatened or followed they should tell the local police, either at a police station or stationed in blue and white police cars at major city intersections. Emergency assistance is available from American and British Embassies in Sanaa, and travellers are also reminded to register there.
The current unrest is only the latest reason not to visit Yemen. Over the past 10 years, more than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped and traded for money, jobs and cars, usually with unqualified success to the kidnappers. While most of those taken were subsequently released unharmed, not all were. At Yemen's principal port, Aden, the suicide bombing of a US warship killed 17 people in 2000. Several embassies are still barricaded after an attack on the UK embassy in 2000, and many foreigners have left the country.