Yemeni officials say three more drone strikes have killed at least 12 suspected militants, as the U.S. expands its fight against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Security officials say the Thursday attacks targeted al-Qaida militants driving in cars in Hadramout and Marib provinces. Seven U.S. drone attacks in the past two weeks have killed at least 30 alleged terrorists in Yemen.
On Wednesday, Yemen said it foiled al-Qaida plots to seize a port city and Western-run oil terminal. Yemen has boosted security in the capital, Sanaa, and elsewhere.
The U.S. and Britain have evacuated diplomatic staff from the country because of a threat by AQAP, al-Qaida's Yemeni branch. Eighteen other U.S. diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa will stay closed through at least Saturday because of the threat.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has arrested two suspects who may have been planning attacks against Western embassies. The SPA state news agency said Thursday the men - a Chadian and a Yemeni - had contacts with AQAP and were discussing "impending suicide operations."
U.S. intelligence late last week intercepted electronic conversations in which the al-Qaida chief in Pakistan, Ayman al-Zawahri, ordered the head of its branch in Yemen to carry out an attack. But the two terrorists did not specify exactly where and when the attacks would take place.
The U.S. has acknowledged carrying out drone strikes against suspected al-Qaida militants in Yemen, but does not comment on individual incidents.