Complex housing US citizens hit by mortar attack in Sana'a

Other News Materials 7 April 2008 04:35 (UTC +04:00)

There were no casualties when a complex housing US citizens in the Yemeni capital Sana'a was hit by three mortar shell late Sunday, police said. ( dpa )

Police officials said the attack was carried out from the back side of the complex at around 7:30 pm (1630 GMT). The attackers fled and were able to escape, authorities said.

One shell struck a window of a building inside the complex, and the other shells landed on the ground.

Western families were seen evacuating the complex afterward, and officials said they were being transferred to hotels.

The high-security residential complex in the Haddah neighbourhood houses US diplomats and other Westerners working for foreign oil companies in Yemen.

Police said the attack only shattered windows of one villa inside the complex.

Journalists were not allowed access to the compound, and security forces were deployed in the vicinity to comb the area.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

A police officer at the scene told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that the attack was similar to last month's mortar attack against the US embassy in Sana'a.

On March 18, four mortar shells were fired at the embassy compound, apparently missing their target and striking the courtyard of a public girls' school adjacent to the embassy.

An embassy guard was killed in the March attack, while three embassy guards and 13 female students were wounded. Official media said later that the terrorist network al-Qaeda was behind the embassy attack.

Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, was the scene of a suicide attack in 2000 on a US Navy destroyer, the USS Cole.

Al-Qaeda praised that attack but did not directly claim responsibility. A similar suicide attack targeted the French supertanker Limburg in 2002.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, Yemen allied itself with the US-led "war on terror," pursued suspected al-Qaeda members and put scores of accused terrorists on trial.

On November 12, a Yemeni state security court in Sana'a convicted a Yemeni man of shooting at the US embassy last year, sentencing him to five years in prison.