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Terrorism & Security

Yemen suicide bomb narrowly misses UK ambassador

The Yemeni government is blaming Al Qaeda's regional wing for today's suicide bomb attack on UK Ambassador Timothy Torlot. While no one was killed, analysts say the attack shows Al Qaeda's continued threat.

By Jonathan AdamsCorrespondent / April 26, 2010

A police vehicle blocks the street at the site of a suicide bomb blast in Sanaa Monday. A suspected Al Qaeda suicide bomber targeted the convoy of the British ambassador to Yemen early on Monday, killing himself and injuring three others.

Khaled Abdullah/Reuters


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A botched suicide bombing targeted the British ambassador to Yemen early Monday, with Yemeni government sources pinning blame on Al Qaeda's regional wing, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

A suicide bomber attacked British Ambassador Timothy Torlot's convoy on its way to the British Embassy in the capital, Sanaa, but killed only himself.

"There was a small explosion beside the ambassador's car this morning," an embassy spokeswoman told the The Wall Street Journal. "He was unhurt, and there were no further embassy staff or British nationals hurt."

The Yemen Observer quoted an eyewitness who put the attack at 8:30 a.m. The blast injured at least two people – a woman and child passing by – and slightly damaged the vehicle, according to the eyewitness.

Sources at the Ministry of Interior said that the forensic teams were sent to the place of the incident to collect evident [sic] and find out details and motives of the incident.

Yemen's Interior Ministry said the hit "bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda," reports Reuters news agency, and security expert Theodore Karasik said the attack showed that the terrorist group's Yemen-based branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was still a threat. (See map here)

"I think this shows Al Qaeda is not disappearing and it has been plotting and planning attacks in Yemen and abroad and I think this is a new campaign of targeted assassinations," Karasik, of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, told Reuters.

No one claimed immediate responsibility for the attack Monday. In December, AQAP quickly claimed responsibility for the alleged Christmas bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound US airplane. The suspect in that attempt, Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had visited Yemen and reportedly contacted militants there. AQAP said it provided the explosive device for that operation, the Financial Times reported.


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