Navy prepares to evacuate US embassy in Yemen

Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is being held captive by rebels who have attacked his compound, just as the U.S. military has moved the USS Iwo Jima and the USS Fort McHenry into the Red Sea, in position to take aboard evacuees from the U.S. Embassy in Yemen if tensions and violence continue to escalate.

Various media have also reported that the presidential compound is under attack and Shiite Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, are holding the Yemeni president captive.

Yemen’s information minister, Nadia Sakkaf, wrote in a Twitter message that “Yemeni president is being attacked by armed militias that want to overthrow” the government, The Washington Post reported. She also said that political talks were continuing, but that the situation was violent.

By Cheryl K. Chumley – The Washington Times –

Al Qaeda group in Yemen claims responsibility for Charlie Hebdo

The militant group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen, took responsibility on Wednesday for the bloody attack one week ago on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people, including cartoonists and police officers, were killed.

The group accompanied its claim with an image of the Eiffel Tower dissolving.

The attack on Charlie Hebdo signaled the start of three days of bloodshed in which five more people died, four them customers at a kosher supermarket.

The group said in a statement on the Internet that it claimed responsibility “for this operation as a vengeance for the messenger of Allah” — an apparent reference to Charlie Hebdo’s frequent lampooning of the Prophet Muhammad with depictions that many Muslims consider sacrilegious.

The group said it “chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation.”

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI & ALAN COWELL – New York Times –