16 killed in car-bomb attack at US embassy in Sana'a

Other News Materials 17 September 2008 19:04 (UTC +04:00)

Sixteen people, including six policemen and six al-Qaeda militants, were killed in a car-bomb attack outside the US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sana'a on Wednesday, officials said, dpa reported.

Interior Ministry sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that all six attackers, including one wearing an explosive belt, were killed. A local security guard and three bystanders, including an Indian woman, were also killed.

An Interior Ministry statement said two cars loaded with explosives were used in the attack.

"Security guards managed to explode the two vehicles away from the embassy building," said the statement, carried by the official Saba news agency.

The ministry condemned the bombing as a "disgraceful act of terrorism," saying "security authorities would save no effort to pursue those behind it and bring them to justice."

Witnesses told dpa that a car carrying armed men in police uniforms fired a rocket-propelled grenade and drove into a road block around 100 metres outside the embassy compound.

It was followed by another car loaded with explosives, which exploded near the main gate of the compound, sending smoke billowing over the area. Residents said heavy gunfire followed the two blasts.

The men in the first car then clashed with security forces guarding the fortified compound that also hosts the ambassador's residence.

At least 13 people, mostly women and children in houses close the embassy, were injured and taken to two hospitals, they said. Three policemen were also injured.

Officials blamed the terrorist network al-Qaeda for the attack. "This attack carries the hallmarks and style of an al-Qaeda operation" a senior government official told dpa.

Police officers at the scene said no embassy staff were hurt in attack. Security forces cordoned off the area and prevented journalists from reaching the scene.

This is the most deadly attack against the US interests since the October 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in the southern Yemen port of Aden that left 17 marines dead and 32 injured.

It follows a mortar attack against the US embassy in Sana'a on March 18 in which three police officers and four girls in a neighbouring school were injured.

On April 6, a similar attack targeted a residential compound housing US and Western citizens. No one was hurt in the attack.

Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for both attacks.

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