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Suicide bombing in Yemen kills 9

July 03, 2007|From the Associated Press

SANA, YEMEN — A suspected Al Qaeda suicide bomber plowed his car Monday into a group of tourists visiting a temple, killing seven Spaniards and two Yemenis.

The attack came less than two weeks after the U.S. Embassy warned Americans to avoid the area in the central province of Marib, which until recent years was rarely visited by tourists because of frequent kidnappings of foreigners.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said the attacker drove into the middle of a convoy transporting the Spanish tourists near the Queen of Sheba temple.

The mangled remains of a four-wheel-drive vehicle could be seen beside a road, but it was unclear whether the vehicle belonged to the bomber or the tourists.

The temple, which is known in Yemen by its Arabic name, Balqis, is about 85 miles east of Sana, the capital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but authorities linked the suicide bomber to the Al Qaeda terrorist network. Yemen is the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, and police said they had received information last month about a possible Al Qaeda attack. They did not elaborate.

The region around Marib is home to four powerful tribes and is known to be a hotbed of support for Al Qaeda. About 100 foreigners have been kidnapped in the area since the 1990s.

In 2002, Bin Laden's top deputy in Yemen, Qaed Sinan Harithi, was killed near Marib by a missile fired from a U.S. drone aircraft. Harithi was believed to have coordinated the 2000 bombing attack on the U.S. destroyer Cole, which killed 17 American sailors.

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