Italian foreign ministry announces temporary closure of embassy in Yemen

Italy is closing its embassy in Yemen temporarily due to recent violence in the country, where al-Qaeda is active.

The Italian foreign ministry announced the move on Friday, following similar announcements by France, Britain and the United States, and said the ambassador and his staff were returning to Italy.

The ministry said it hopes that mediation by U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar would create conditions permitting the embassy to reopen.

In January, rebels known as Houthis put U.S.-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his Cabinet ministers under house arrest, leading to their resignations. Subsequently, the Houthis dissolved parliament and declared they were taking over the government.