US mission in Yemen urges staff to avoid popular hotel

3rd May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The US embassy in Yemen has advised its staff to avoid a hotel frequented by Westerners, while the British mission remained shut on Sunday, six days after its ambassador narrowly escaped a suicide attack.

"Due to increased security concerns regarding specific areas frequented by Western tourists and residents, all US embassy personnel have been advised to avoid the Movenpick Hotel in Sanaa until further notice," the US embassy said in a statement posted on its website on Saturday.

The embassy also urged "Americans to remain vigilant regarding their personal security."

Meanwhile, the British embassy's website said that the mission remained shut to the public, since Monday's failed attempt to blow up the convoy of ambassador Timothy Torlot near the Movenpick Hotel.

The suicide bomber, whose body was torn into pieces, wounded three bystanders and damaged a police escort car as he hurled himself at the convoy detonating his explosive belt.

Yemen's interior ministry had said that the attack carried the "fingerprints of Al-Qaeda," and identified the assailant as Othman Ali Nouman al-Salawi.

American and British missions were shut for some days in January following indications that the Yemen branch of Al-Qaeda was targeting Western interests.

Yemen's defence ministry said in late December that an attack against the British embassy was foiled after an Al-Qaeda cell in Arhab, 35 kilometres (20 miles) north of the capital was dismantled.

The attack on the British embassy "was to be modelled on the operation that was carried out against the American embassy" in 2008, which killed 16 people, the defence ministry said at the time.

Monday's bombing was the first suicide attack in Yemen since March 2009 when a South Korean delegation was attacked while investigating an earlier bombing which killed four South Korean tourists.

No one was killed or wounded in the second blast.

© 2010 AFP

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