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Following American Embassy Attack, Yemeni Security Authorities Arrest 30; State Department Advises American Citizens Not to Visit Yemen
  Written By: Hakim Almasmari ( YEMEN POST STAFF ) 
  Article Date:
September 22, 2008


The U.S. State Department recommended that all non-emergency personnel and their families at the Sana'a,-based U.S. Embassy leave the country following a terrorist attack on the embassy's building that killed 17 people, mostly Yemenis.

This warning to non-emergency staff followed a similar warning issued last April that came after similar attacks on the embassy and an expatriate's residential compound in Hadda area of the capital.

Though the warning was lifted last month, it has been reinstated due to Wednesday's attack, hinting that the security threat level remains high due to the terrorist activities in the country.

The state department also advised all Americans heading to Yemen to defer their business, and asked those who are now in Yemen to exercise utmost precaution and not travel outside the capital, hinting this warning supersedes the travel warning for Yemen issued August 13, 2008

Yemeni security sources revealed that 30 people were arrested over the attack that left 17 people killed and media sources noted that American authorities sent last week a team to conduct a joint investigation into the circumstances of the incident.  

An informed security source told the Yemen Post that a Yemeni-American teenager, 18, named Suzan Al-Bana and newly married to a Yemeni, and an Indian woman working in the Tourist City were killed in the incident implemented by 'Islamic Jihad in Yemen', suspected to be a branch of Al-Qaeda.

The same source added that losses could have been bigger if the attackers managed to enter the main Embassy building, hinting the vigilance of the members of the security brigade positioned near the embassy prevented the terrorist from performing their plan.

He continued that terrorists, disguised in the Central Security officers' uniform, drove two explosive-laden cars into the artificial gate erected 100 meters before the main embassy's gate.

When the civil guard of the embassy was about to allow them through the artificial gate, a Central Security guard told him not to open it after he suspected them; however, the terrorists shot him as soon as he approached to check. At the meantime, they shot the civil guard and an exchange of fire started between the embassy guards and the attackers.

Heavy fire exchange caused the car to blow up and a second explosives-loaded car came and tried to breach through the artificial gate; however, it did not manage to do so, and was blown up close to the embassy.

Attending the Cultural Symposium organized last Thursday in Al-Hodeidah University's Grand Hall, President Ali Abdullah Saleh condemned the attack and pledged to hunt after those who stand behind such acts.

Harshly criticizing the terrorists, Saleh pointed out that it is difficult for security forces to stop terrorist from implementing their attacks, because they simply decided to die and stressed that ignorance and backwardness cultures were to blame.

Emphasizing that such acts do harm the country's overarching interests and harm development and tourism, Saleh continued that these terrorist offer nothing in the country's interest, but rather only destruction.

"These terrorist do not just target the political system in Yemen, but also development, stability and our Islamic faith," said Saleh. "We promise all Yemenis that we will hunt the criminals until we arrest them and refer them to judiciary." 

Meanwhile, Yemeni political parties, civil society organizations and preachers denounced the attack on the U.S. Embassy and called Yemeni people to unite and work for preventing such acts in the future.