September 18, 2008
Massacre at the Embassy
By MARK ELLIS
A TERROR assault on an American embassy yesterday left at least 16 dead.Last night the US State Department said the "vicious" attack in the Yemen capital Sanaa bore all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda operation.
Militants tried to storm the US compound with automatic weapons and rocketpropelled grenades.
They failed to breach the fortified walls but two suicide car bombs went off at a security checkpoint and gunmen battled with guards for around 10 minutes.
The dead included six members of the Yemen security forces, six terrorists and four civilians. No Americans were reported hurt.
President Bush was briefed about the attack and White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said: "This is a reminder of the continuing threat we face from violent extremists at home and abroad."
The attack was the deadliest on an embassy targeted four times in recent years. In March a mortar attack missed it but wounded 13 girls at a nearby school.
Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility for yesterday's raid and threatened attacks on more embassies, including Britain's.
The group is demanding the release of jailed members. Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama Bin Laden, backs the US-led "war on terror" but has struggled to put down Islamic militants.
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