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Terrorism & Security

Yemen attacks kill French national, injure British embassy official

The British Foreign secretary said the 'shameful' Yemen attacks would only 'redouble Britain's determination' to address security concerns in Yemen.

By Correspondent / October 6, 2010

Yemeni security forces and forensics personnel attend the scene where an attack took place on a convoy carrying a senior British diplomat in San'a, Yemen Wednesday, Oct. 6.

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Four people were wounded Wednesday when militants launched a rocket at a convoy carrying British embassy staff in Sanaa, Yemen.

Within minutes of the incident, an Austrian oil firm had also come under attack in the Yemeni capital. Oil company OMV confirmed that a French contractor died and a British employee was seriously injured when a security guard opened fire inside the firm's compound this morning. "The company has no indications that the incident was politically motivated," OMV said in a statement on its website,

The attacks come just six months after a suicide bomber targeted the British ambassador to Yemen, who escaped unharmed. The incidents highlight Western nations’ ongoing concern of Al Qaeda operations in the poorest nation on the Arabian peninsula.

The Associated Press reports that Yemeni authorities had recently increased the security presence around embassies in Sanaa after receiving information of an impending attack. Wednesday’s rocket attack took place in the morning as an armored vehicle was on its way to the embassy with five British embassy officials inside, including the deputy chief of mission.

She was unharmed, but one British official was slightly wounded, according to a statement from Britain’s Foreign Office.

"This morning's attack on staff of the British Embassy in Sanaa highlights the risks our diplomats face working for Britain's interests abroad," Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement, adding: "This shameful attack on British diplomats will only redouble Britain's determination to work with the Government of Yemen to help address the challenges that country faces."

A Yemeni official told the AP that three bystanders were also wounded in the attack. According to the Yemen Observer, a woman and her child were hit by the vehicle as it attempted to escape the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, although the Observer reported that Al Qaeda militants are suspect.

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