Al Qaeda says behind Yemen attack

SANAA Mon Apr 7, 2008 9:51am BST

Guards are seen at the gate of a complex housing Americans and other Westerners in Sanaa, Yemen, April 6, 2008. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Guards are seen at the gate of a complex housing Americans and other Westerners in Sanaa, Yemen, April 6, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

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SANAA (Reuters) - A Yemeni security official said al Qaeda had claimed responsibility in a statement on Monday for an apparent mortar attack on a complex housing Americans and other Westerners in the Yemeni capital on Sunday.

Islamist Web sites that traditionally carry such statements did not have a claim from Yemen's al Qaeda wing.

"Al Qaeda has issued a statement claiming the attack," the official said without giving further details.

Three blasts broke windows but caused no injuries at the complex in southwest Sanaa.

Another security official said that security forces had arrested a key al Qaeda militant, Abdullah al-Raimi, on Saturday on suspicion of involvement in planning several operations. He did not give details.

Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a mortar attack in Sanaa last month which missed the U.S. embassy but wounded girls at a nearby school. The State Department offered to fly non-essential diplomats and family members out of Yemen after that attack.

The group had earlier claimed responsibility for deadly attacks on Spanish and Belgian tourists in the Arabian Peninsula country.

Yemen, the ancestral home of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is viewed in the West as a haven for Islamic militants, dozens of whom are jailed for involvement in bombings of Western targets and clashes with authorities.

The oil-producing country joined U.S.-led efforts to fight terrorism after the September 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. cities and has itself experienced attacks on foreign tourists, oil installations, and U.S. and French ships.

Yemen is one of the world's poorest countries outside Africa, and a 2007 World Bank report noted domestic crude oil output had declined steadily since 2001. Poverty and unemployment are fuelling discontent in parts of the country.

(Reporting by Mohamed Sudam; writing by Inal Ersan; editing by Tim Pearce)

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