Sana’a: Saudi Arabia evacuated most of its diplomats from Yemen as tension mounted between Al Houthi rebels and the government in the capital, a source who deals with the Saudi embassy told Gulf News.

“The Saudi diplomats snuck into Sana’a airport on Sunday hours before police attempted to break up a sit-in by Al Houthis on the airport road,”

The same source said that the embassy’s charge d’affaires and Yemeni staff were left to handle Haj visas. “They did not stop issuing Haj visas and certifying documents.” the source said.

At the same time, local travel agencies in Yemen said that Saudi Arabian airline suspended flights to Yemen’s main airports for at least one month. The airline flies to Sana’a and Aden airports.

Violence flared in the capital on Sunday as police tried to break up a protest by the Al Houthis who blocked the main road to the airport demanding the resignation of the government. Police retreated after failing to reopen the airport road using tear gas and water cannons.

Unlike Yemen’s Al Qaida branch, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has publicly announced an intention of targeting Saudi interests in Yemen, the Al Houthi rebels have not been found to be involved in any attacks on Saudis in Yemen. Yemen has beefed up security around the Saudi embassy and the movement of Saudi diplomats since March 2012 when AQAP kidnapped a Saudi diplomat in the port city of Aden.

Abdullah Al Khalidi has appeared on many Al Qaida videos urging his government to engage in talks with his kidnappers who want to trade him for Al Qaida women prisoners in Saudi Arabia. Al Khalidi’s last appeal was posted online on September 3 in which he urged the Saudi public and his tribe to pressure the Saudi government to meet Al Qaida’s demand.

Separately, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) renewed on Tuesday its warning to British nationals not to visit Yemen and urged those who live in Yemen to leave.