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American embassy in Sana'a under attack (Front).

SANA'A, Sept. 17 -- At least sixteen people have been killed, after two cars carrying a suicide bomber and armed fighters attacked the US Embassy in Sana'a, this Wednesday at 09:15 am. The attack killed four civilians including an Indian, six security guards and six of the attackers.

A source in the security forces of the embassy has confirmed this, adding that three other security guards were injured.

The US embassy said none of its staff had been hurt.

Eyewitnesses stated that the two cars were seen passing by the embassy. The first one, which was carrying individuals dressed in military uniform, opened gunfire at security while the second car, carrying the bomb, tried to enter the embassy but blasted in front of the main gate leaving part of the building on fire.

An eyewitness also said a big explosion was heard followed by heavy gunfire after which a fire brigade and ambulance raced to the embassy. "After that, we heard three other big explosions and then the military police came and cordoned the area," the eyewitness added.

A fierce battle erupted between the terrorists and security forces and lasted for about 15-20 minutes.

The spokesman for the US embassy confirmed to Reuters that the blasts were caused by car bombs and that there were reports of casualties. "This morning a car exploded at the main gate of the embassy in Sana'a. There was an initial explosion and several secondary explosions," a US embassy spokesman told Reuters via telephone.

Residents in the neighboring area said that the Yemeni police started searching the neighboring houses for terrorists and weapons, and hundreds of heavily armed troops have now surrounded the embassy building, which is strafed with bullet holes.

A group calling itself 'Islamic Jihad in Yemen' claimed responsibility for the bombing and threatened attacks on other embassies including those of Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The group had threatened in a previous statement, released on Tuesday, to launch a series of attacks unless the Yemeni government met its demands for the release of several members from jail.

"We, the organization of 'Islamic Jihad in Yemen' declare our responsibility for the suicide attack on the American embassy in Sana'a," according to a statement released on their website.

"We will carry out the rest of the series of attacks on the other embassies that were declared previously, until our demands are met by the Yemeni government." it added.

In March, three mortar rounds targeting the US Embassy crashed into a high school for girls next door, killing a Yemeni security guard and wounding more than a dozen girls.

In March 2002, a Yemeni man threw a grenade into the US embassy grounds a day after Vice President Dick Cheney made a stop for talks with officials at Sana'a airport.

In March 2003, two people were shot dead and dozens more injured when police clashed with demonstrators trying to storm the embassy when tens of thousands rallied against the US-led invasion of Iraq.

In 2006, a gunman opened fire outside the Embassy but was shot and arrested by Yemeni guards. The gunman, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, claimed he wanted to kill Americans.

The group was also blamed for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden in which 17 American sailors died and an attack on a French oil tanker which killed one person two years later....

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Feb 8, 2009
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