Two western targets have been attacked in Yemen by suspected al Qaeda militants. A British embassy vehicle was fired on, and a Frenchman was killed in a shooting outside a gas company.
In the first attack a rocket was fired at a car carrying the deputy chief of the British diplomatic mission. One embassy staff member in the car was slightly hurt; three Yemeni bystanders were reportedly wounded.
Both attacks followed tightened security in the capital Sanaa especially around embassies amid warnings about a planned strike by al-Qaeda.
The French foreign ministry says its national died inside the premises of the Austrian-owned oil and gas group OMV. A Yemeni private security guard went on a shooting spree before being disarmed. A UK contractor was seriously hurt.
“At 9 o’clock in the morning we heard gunfire,” said one eyewitness. “We went to the compound and found a lot of people gathered near the western end and the eastern end, and nobody could get close because they would fire on them. Death, that’s what we heard from the people there.”
Six months ago the British ambassador to Yemen was targeted by a suicide bomber, one of several attacks carried out by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – a merger of the movement’s Saudi and Yemeni wings.
It’s feared the organisation might try to exploit instability in the country to make it a launchpad for more attacks.