Spain sends plane to bring back tourists killed in Yemen

2nd July 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 July 2007, MADRID - Spain sent a hospital plane with medical and police personnel to Yemen on Tuesday to bring back seven dead Spaniards and six others injured in a suicide car-bombing.

3 July 2007

MADRID -  Spain sent a hospital plane with medical and police personnel to Yemen on Tuesday to bring back seven dead Spaniards and six others injured in a suicide car-bombing.

Tourism Minister Joan Clos and Foreign Ministry aide Bernadino Leon,as well as representatives of the Basque and Catalan regional governments, were also on the flight, which left the Torrejon de Ardoz air base outside Madrid shortly before 11 a.m. (0900 GMT).

The Foreign Ministry said the plane was expected to arrive mid-evening and return Tuesday night to Spain.

"We don't know when they're going to bring the bodies back," said a woman who answered the telephone at the Barcelona home of one of those killed, Gabriel Tortosa Ortega.

"We're all in a lot of pain. That's all we can say at the moment," added the woman. It was not immediately possible to obtain her name.

Spanish politicians held a minute's silence in the lower house of Parliament to show their respect for the dead and injured.

The attack occurred Monday as the group of Spaniards visited a temple linked to the ancient Queen of Sheba in a part of central Yemen.

Witnesses said a car drove into the group of tourists on a road outside the temple site.

Three Yemenis, including the suicide bomber, were also killed.

One of the six injured, Maria Asuncion Vitorica Arbaiza, was operated on in Yemen late Monday and was said to be in serious but stable condition, the foreign ministry said.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for Monday's blast, but authorities linked the suicide bomber to al-Qaida.

It was the second suspected Islamic terrorist attack to target Spain in recent days. On June 24, six U.N. Spanish army peacekeepers were killed in a bombing in southern Lebanon.

Monday's attack occurred the same day the trial ended in Madrid of 28 people, mostly Moroccan, for the 2004 Madrid train bombings blamed on al-Qaida that killed 191 people and injured more than 1,500.

The 13 Spaniards had gone to Yemen on June 30 to spend several weeks as part of package tour organized by a Basque travel agency.

Spain has considered tourism in Yemen dangerous for some time. In April, the Foreign Ministry advised travelers that there was a risk of terrorist action and highlighted that the region of Marib, where the bombing occurred, should only be traveled to in the company of a local guide and a military escort.

Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. Embassy in Yemen issued a warning to Americans to avoid the area, which until recent years was rarely visited by tourists because of frequent kidnappings of foreigners.

[Copyright AP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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