Six held in Yemen over fake claim of US embassy attack

September 22nd, 2008 - 4:54 am ICT by IANS  

Sanaa, Sep 22 (DPA) Yemeni authorities have arrested six people believed to have issued statements claiming responsibility for the last week’s car bombing against the US embassy in Sanaa, the defence ministry has said.In a statement posted on its web site Sunday, the ministry said that among the detained suspects was a man identified as Abu al-Ghaith al-Yamani, who signed two statements claiming responsibility for the bombing, which killed 18 people, and threatening more attacks.

The ministry said that al-Yamani and five other people were arrested for disseminating statements “in the name of the Jihad Organisation, threatening to target Arab and Western embassies in Sanaa”.

A group calling itself the Jihad Organisation in Yemen said Thursday that it was behind the bombing outside the US embassy and threatened to attack the British and Saudi embassies.

The police have said the statements could not be authenticated.

Sixteen people including six suspected Al Qaeda attackers were killed at the scene of the attack on the embassy compound, in which two car bombs and automatic weapons were used. The attackers were unable to penetrate the embassy wall.

Two men, including a police officer, died later, bringing the death toll to 18, officials said.

Yemeni officials have 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.

US officials said that the nature of the attack showed it was likely an Al Qaeda operation.

It was the deadliest attack against US interests in Yemen since the October 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in the southern Yemen port of Aden, which left 17 sailors dead and 32 wounded.

More recently, a mortar was fired on March 18 against the US embassy in Sanaa, in which three police officers and four girls in a neighbouring school were wounded.

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

Al Qaeda had claimed responsibility for both attacks.

After the Sep 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.

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