Terrorism – Yemen travel advice

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Yemen. The threat is heightened where AQAP have strong tribal connections and in more isolated governorates like Hadramawt and Shabwah.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

Western and Houthi interests in Yemen remain a feature in AQAP propaganda, and are viewed by AQAP as legitimate targets for attacks. Future attacks could be indiscriminate, including – but not limited to – places visited by foreigners like hotels and supermarkets, transport, oil and gas infrastructure, government buildings and Houthi gatherings. Since October 2014, there have been a number of large-scale attacks against the Houthis. Maritime and aviation terrorism also can’t be ruled out.

Attacks targeting or affecting British nationals of Yemeni origin also can’t be ruled out. Attacks against Yemeni security forces and Houthis throughout the country continue to rise and are expected to continue as a result of their ongoing Yemeni operations against AQAP.

Methods of attack have included complex attacks by militants, firearm assassinations, kidnappings, car bombs, and improvised explosive devices (IEDS) left in locations like buildings and roadways.

Daesh’s official branch in Yemen, (Daesh-Yemen), launched its terrorist campaign in March 2015, carrying out co-ordinated suicide attacks against Shia mosques and targets in the cities of Sadah and Sana’a. Since March 2015, the group has conducted dozens of terrorist attacks across the country as part of their campaign. Attacks have taken place in locations including Aden, Sana’a, Ibb, Hodeida and al-Bayda. Methods of attack have included car bombings and suicide bomb attacks. The group have so far focused on Houthi, security forces and Yemeni government targets, but western interests are highly likely to be regarded as a legitimate target too.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.


There is a very high and constant threat of kidnap across Yemen. Hundreds of people have been kidnapped in Yemen in the last 15 years. In 2014, a number of foreign nationals were kidnapped. In February 2014, 2 British nationals were kidnapped in Yemen. One was released in July 2014, the other in August 2015. An American national was murdered by his hostage takers during a failed rescue attempt in December 2014.

If you choose to travel to Yemen against FCDO advice, you should pay careful attention to your safety and security. Security precautions do not remove the threat and our advice remains against all travel to the country.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) propaganda has called for continued kidnapping of westerners. However, armed tribes and criminal groups have also carried out kidnaps in the past. There is a high risk that such groups would sell any hostages on to AQAP, who have murdered a number of hostages.

Kidnaps have occurred at various times of day and in a wide variety of locations, including public places in the capital, cars while travelling, and the victims’ accommodation. Kidnapping attempts often involve the use of force and have ended in the death of several victims.

Any international presence (including UN, NGOs, oil and gas workers, journalists, teachers, students, tourists, long-term residents, and westerners of Yemeni origin) are viewed as legitimate targets if an opportunity arises. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to terrorist hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) makes payments to terrorists illegal.

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