Al-Qa'ida blamed as Western targets hit in Yemen

Suspected al-Qa'ida militants attacked two Western targets in Yemen yesterday, firing a rocketat a British diplomat's car and killing a Frenchman at a gas and oil installation.

The attacks bore the hallmarks of al-Qa'ida. The group has threatened to strike against Western targets and the Yemeni government, which declared war on its local arm after it claimed a failed attack on a US-bound airliner in December.

The Foreign Office said a British embassy vehicle carrying the deputy chief of the British mission was attacked. "The vehicle was on its way to the embassy, with five staff on board," a Foreign Office spokesman said. "One member of staff suffered minor injuries and is undergoing treatment, all others were unhurt."

A security source in Yemen said three Yemeni bystanders were wounded in the rocket-propelled grenade attack.

The Frenchman died in a shooting in the compound of the Austrian-owned oil and gas group OMV. A security source said the attacker was a Yemeni guard working for a private security firm, and government forces had disarmed him.

Authorities had arrested dozens of al-Qa'ida suspects and were questioning the 20-year-old guard, a security official said. Bystanders said the guard repeatedly shouted Islam's rallying cry of "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) while shooting.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, called it a "shameful attack".

Both attacks followed tightened security in the capital of the country whose conflicts with a resurgent al-Qa'ida, secessionists in the south and Shia rebels in the north have raised Western and Gulf Arab fears that it is on the verge of becoming a failed state. Those fears worsened after the Yemen-based arm of al-Qa'ida claimed responsibility for the attempt to bomb a US-bound airliner.

Nicole Stracke of the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai said the militants may have chosen to target the British embassy because it was less heavily fortified than the US embassy. An al-Qa'ida suicide bomber attacked the British ambassador's convoy in April, killing himself and injuring three others.

Yemen's population of unemployed youths are seen as potential recruits for Islamist fighters. Western donor nations, including Britain, backed Yemen in its fight against al-Qa'ida at a United Nations meeting in New York last month. Yemen is the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there