SANA, Yemen — Militants linked to al-Qaida launched a brazen attack against the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital on Wednesday, firing automatic weapons and setting off grenades and a car bomb in a furious fusillade that failed to breach the walls but killed 16 people, including a newly wed New York woman.
It was the deadliest direct assault on a U.S. Embassy in a decade, claiming the lives of six attackers, six guards and four civilians.
About 9:15 a.m., multiple explosions from the car bomb and grenades shook the affluent Dhahr Himyar district, a residential area dotted with five-star hotels and other embassies.
Palls of black smoke rose over the street, lined with modern buildings in the style of the centuries-old white-trimmed mud brick houses that are a landmark of Sana's Old City.
Snipers hidden across the street fired on emergency personnel rushing to the scene.
The attackers, some dressed in army uniforms, were stopped short of the compound's walls by guards and massive security barriers, but civilians waiting in line for visas outside the embassy were among the casualties.
Three police officers and seven civilians were injured, including children in a residential compound across the street from the embassy, home to many Westerners.
Susan Elbaneh, 18, a U.S. citizen from Lackawanna, N.Y., who was recently wed in Yemen in an arranged marriage, was killed along with her Yemeni husband as they stood outside the embassy, family members said Wednesday.
They were apparently there to do paperwork for the husband's move to the United States when the attackers struck, said Elbaneh's brother, Ahmed.
President Bush called the attack "a reminder that we are at war with extremists who will murder innocent people to achieve their ideological objectives."
There was no immediate public claim of responsibility for the attack. Some Yemeni security officials said a local militant group called Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. The group is unrelated to the Palestinian group of the same name.
But suspicion was immediately centered on al-Qaida, which has long operated in the country on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula.