Explosion at British Embassy in Yemen shatters windows

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The Independent Online

An explosion Friday at the British Embassy in the Yemeni capital San'a shattered windows at the embassy and neighboring buildings, but nobody was injured, witnesses and embassy officials said.

An explosion Friday at the British Embassy in the Yemeni capital San'a shattered windows at the embassy and neighboring buildings, but nobody was injured, witnesses and embassy officials said.

Only a Yemeni night guard was on duty at the time of the blast, an Embassy spokeswoman said. Nobody was hurt, she said.

"The explosion was close to a generator," she said. "We sustained considerable damage to the building itself."

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who is on a Middle Eastern visit, said foul play was suspected.

"We believe a bomb of some kind was flung over a wall," Cook said. "It was not a particularly professional attack, rather an opportunistic one, and it seems to have landed on a diesel generator and has caused quite a substantial explosion."

The blast comes a day after U.S. officials say suicide bombers in a small boat blew a gaping hole in a U.S. warship at a refueling stop in the Aden, Yemen, harbor. The blast killed six members of the crew, injured 35 and left 11 missing. Aden is 290 kilometers (180 miles) southwest of San'a.

The embassy explosion shook the entire neighborhood, said Hisham al-Qubati, a secretary at the nearby Yemen Times building.

"I heard a loud explosion at 6:05 a.m. (0305 GMT) and rushed over to the embassy. They wouldn't let us in, but I could see shattered windows and the damage to a school next to the embassy," al-Qubati said.

Beyond damage to the three-story embassy and neighboring school, the explosion just after dawn blew out windows of the nearby Dutch Embassy.

A forensics team was trying to determine the cause of the blast, the embassy spokeswoman said.

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