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U.S. Embassy attack tied to al-Qaida kills 16

Cars are shattered and burned near the U.S. Embassy in Sana, Yemen, on Wednesday. A young New York bride was among the victims in the multipronged attack on the compound.

Yemen TV via Associated Press Television News

Cars are shattered and burned near the U.S. Embassy in Sana, Yemen, on Wednesday. A young New York bride was among the victims in the multipronged attack on the compound.

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.

U.S. embassies targeted

A look at some other deadly attacks involving U.S. embassies:

Sept. 12, 2006: Assailants try to blow up Damascus embassy; four gunmen and Syrian guard killed.

Sept. 8, 2006: Two U.S. soldiers among 16 killed when car bomber strikes U.S. military vehicles outside Afghan embassy in Kabul.

March 20, 2002: Ten Peruvians killed in car bombing by Shining Path rebels across from U.S. Embassy in Lima, three days before visit by President Bush.

Aug. 7, 1998: Twelve Americans among 236 killed in bombings at the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Attacks attributed to al-Qaida.

Sept. 20, 1984: Suicide truck-bomb explosion at embassy annex in east Beirut, Lebanon, kills at least 14 people, including two Americans and 12 Lebanese.

Dec. 12, 1983: Truck bombings by underground Shiite group kill at least four people and wound more than 80 at French Embassy and U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.

April 18, 1983: Pickup explodes at U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63, including 17 Americans; 112 are wounded, including 40 Americans.

Associated Press

U.S. Embassy attack tied to al-Qaida kills 16 09/17/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 5:20pm]

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