The US and Britan are stepping up support for the fight against terrorism in Yemen amid growing fears it could become a safe haven for al Qaeda.
Having already increased training, intelligence and military equipment for Yemeni forces, Washington is now to more than double its security assistance programme.
A crackdown is underway against militants believed to be behind a failed plot to blow us a US airliner.
Security in Somalia is also a priority for the US and UK.
Both countries are to fund a counter-terrorism police unit in Yemen where both closed their embassies today, the Americans saying it was in response to al Qaeda threats.
“This is not the first time this group has targeted us,” US President Barack Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “In recent years, they have bombed Yemeni government facilities and Western hotels, restaurants and embassies, including our embassy in 2008, killing one American. So, as President, I have made it a priority to strengthen our partnership with the Yemeni government, training and equipping their security forces, sharing intelligence and working with them to strike al Qaeda terrorists.”
Obama’s Christmas holidays in Hawaii have been overshadowed by security concerns stemming from the mid-air drama on the Detroit-bound plane.
As he returns to work next week, unemployment and healthcare are set to take a back seat to counter-terrorism.