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Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:46AM
Sheraton Hotel in Sana’a, Yemen (file photo)

Sheraton Hotel in Sana’a, Yemen (file photo)

The United States has converted the biggest hotel in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a into a military base as it seeks to gain foothold in the Arab nation following the revolution that ousted former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. The US Embassy in Sana’a has reportedly booked all the rooms in the Sheraton Hotel of Sana'a, firing 200 members of the hotel's staff after paying them a severance payment equal to six months of salary. American Embassy staff have also installed surveillance cameras in the hotel and deployed contingents of security forces near the building. Moreover, snipers have also been placed on hills overlooking the hotel and ordered to shoot if they see anything suspicious. In October, Washington sent over 100 Marines to Yemen to help protect its embassy during anti-American protests sparked by an anti-Islam film produced in the United States. Pentagon spokesman George Little described the deployment as a "precautionary step" amid anti-US protests in the Middle East. Little added that there were no immediate plans to evacuate the embassy in Yemen, but that security would be stepped up. US missions have been on high alert across the Muslim world since the release of the film insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Anti-US sentiment has also been growing across Yemen over the White House’s interference in Yemen's internal affairs and deadly US drone attacks. MP/SZH