Blasts Hit Foreigners' Complex in Yemen

By: By AHMED AL-HAJ
By: By AHMED AL-HAJ

SAN'A, Yemen (AP) -- A housing complex used by foreigners in Yemen's capital came under attack late Sunday, with explosions shattering windows and prompting residents to evacuate with suitcases and boxes.

Nobody was injured in the attack on the upscale Haddah neighborhood. The U.S. Embassy said "three explosive rounds" hit the compound, with two blowing up inside and the third outside.

"The Embassy advises all U.S. citizens to exercise caution in this area of the city," the statement said.

After the blasts, Westerners were seen evacuating the compound. Some rolled suitcases and carried boxes to vehicles with diplomatic plates. Women huddled in idling cars, while children lugged backpacks.

Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, is Osama bin Laden's ancestral homeland and has a persistent al-Qaida movement that has attacked and killed foreigners on several occasions.

Last month, mortar shells were fired at the U.S. Embassy but exploded instead at a nearby girls' school, killing a security guard and wounding more than a dozen students.

A Yemeni security official, describing himself as the head of security in Haddah area, said that blast was caused by multiple "projectiles."

"Broken windows ... were all that resulted from the projectiles' attack," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media. Nobody was hurt, he said.

Two other security officials, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, corroborated his account.

A witness said a blast shook the neighborhood.

"I heard a big blast that shook the southern suburb, but there was no fire or smoke coming out of the area," said Mohammed Omar, 30, who lives in the same area.

Sunday's attack came amid a backdrop of violence in Yemen's south, where security forces have been trying to put down riots by thousands of former southern Yemen army officers, political activists and unemployed men who accuse the government of unequal treatment. Two people were killed and eight others were wounded Sunday in continued clashes there.

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