10 killed in terrorist attack on US Embassy

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TERRORISTS exploded a huge car bomb followed by a machine gun attack on the US Embassy in Yemen today, reportedly killing ten people.

A Yemeni security official said six Yemeni guards and four civilians were killed in the attack.

The official said the embassy was hit by two car bombs early today and that heavy gunfire lasting around 10 minutes followed the blasts.

Several nearby homes were badly damaged by the blasts, he said, and three of the embassy's guards were wounded, but he did not know their nationalities.

A medical official said at least seven Yemenis from a housing compound near the embassy were wounded and taken to hospital.

Explosions and heavy gunfire were heard near the embassy in the eastern section of San'a and police swiftly cordoned off the area.

The US Embassy in Yemen, which is the ancestral homeland of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, has been the focus of violence in the past.

In March, three mortar rounds targeting the embassy crashed into a high school for girls next door, killing a Yemeni security guard and wounding more than a dozen pupils.

In March 2002, a Yemeni man threw a stun into the US embassy grounds a day after Vice President Dick Cheney made a stop for talks with officials at San'a airport.

The attacker, who allegedly sought to retaliate against what he called American bias toward Israel, was sentenced to 10 years in prison but the sentence was later reduced to seven years.

In March 2003, two people were shot dead and dozens more were injured when police clashed with demonstrators trying to storm the embassy when tens of thousands rallied against the invasion of Iraq.

In 2006, a gunman opened fire outside the embassy but was shot and arrested by Yemeni guards. The gunman, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, claimed he wanted to kill Americans.

Al Qaida has an active presence in Yemen despite government efforts to destroy it.

The group was blamed for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden that killed 17 American sailors and an attack on a French oil tanker that killed one person two years later.