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YEMEN: Attacks occur amid heightened Al Qaeda fears in troubled Arabian Peninsula country

October 6, 2010 |  6:42 am


Several people were injured in a pair of attacks Wednesday on another dangerous day for foreigners in the Arabian Peninsula nation of Yemen.

Arab media and diplomats reported that a shell or missile struck a vehicle carrying five British Embassy staff as it headed toward the embassy in Sana, Yemen’s capital, Wednesday morning. 

Separately, employees of the Austrian energy giant OMV were shot by a security guard at the company’s office near Sana. Agence France-Presse cited Yemeni security officials as saying one French national was killed in the attack, but Dow Jones cited OMV as saying two people were injured and no one killed.

In the missile strike on British Embassy staff, one embassy employee was injured, the British foreign office said in a statement, adding that at least two other bystanders also were hurt. 

Another report said a woman and a child were wounded in the blast or the ensuing chaos. Another report said the attackers fired a missile at the diplomats from a car, which fled the scene. 

No one claimed responsibility in either attack, but the incidents coincided with worries about the growth of Al Qaeda in the impoverished and overpopulated country on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. 

Yemen’s official media did not mention the incidents, which came as President Ali Abdullah Saleh met with the Britain’s outgoing ambassador, Tim Torlot. 

The diplomat was targeted in an April 2010 attack that injured no British nationals, Britain’s foreign ministry said. 

British Foreign Minister William Hague called the attack on the diplomats a “shameful” act that will “redouble Britain's determination to work with the government of Yemen,” which has been accused of exacerbating the country’s problems with its corruption, incompetence and dishonesty

The government reported Tuesday that it earned nearly $1.5 billion in oil exports for the first half of 2010 but spent most of the money to subsidize gasoline for domestic consumption. 

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photo: A policeman gestures at the scene of a rocket attack that struck a vehicle carrying members of the British Embassy staff. Credit: Khaled Abdullah / Reuters