x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Saudi issues new Yemen travel warning

Saudi Arabia renewed a warning to its citizens, urging them not to visit Yemen as the country reels from a year of political turmoil and war against Al Qaeda.

RIYADH // Saudi Arabia renewed a warning to its citizens yesterday, urging them not to visit Yemen as the country reels from a year of political turmoil and the war against Al Qaeda.

"Given the instability and the security situation, the [foreign] ministry is renewing its warning to all citizens not to travel there until the situation is stabilised," an official said in a statement carried by the official press agency SPA.

Three Saudis, including two diplomats, have been kidnapped in Yemen in as many years.

In March, the Saudi diplomat Abdullah Al Khalidi was kidnapped by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militants outside his home in Aden.

A video posted last week on militant internet forums showed Mr Khalidi appealing to Riyadh to meet the militants' demands to secure his release.

Saeed Al Malili, a second secretary at the Saudi Embassy, was kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen in the capital Sanaa in April last year. He was released nine days later.

In November 2010, gunmen kidnapped a Saudi doctor in northern Yemen and demanded the release of nine jailed Al Qaeda members. He was released the same day.

Saudi Arabia has also played a pivotal role in the battle to destroy Al Qaeda's growing presence in Yemen.

Earlier this month, US media reported that the double agent who had infiltrated the militant network and helped to foil a plot to blow up a US-bound airliner was a Saudi.