Explosion near PSO causes panic [Archives:2002/15/Copy of front]

April 8 2002

A huge explosion took place a few steps away from the east wall of the Political Security Office (PSO) in the diplomatic neighborhood near Hadda street in Sanaa at 20:10 on Thursday April 4.
Even though there were no reported casualties, the blast caused great damage to the wall behind which lies the office main prison causing panic in the whole neighborhood.
Windows near the site were mostly damaged. The Turkish embassy and the house of the Minister of Local Administration, Mr. Sadiq Amin Abu Ras, were also affected.
Initial investigations have revealed that a plastic bag full of explosives was left in the site to explode later.
PSO officials however refused to give away any further information saying that an intense interrogation campaign had started and the office was committed to bringing the terrorists to justice.
Police cordoned off the area immediately following the blast.
According to Reuters, a Turkish diplomat said he did not believe the embassy had been the target of an attack because the blast was not in its immediate vicinity.
The explosion was so loud that it was heard more than 2 kms away, some witnesses told the Yemen Times.
Guards of the Yemen Times premises located more than 1 km away from the site- also heard the explosion.
We heard a huge explosion coming from the neighborhood where the PSO is located.
As we rushed to the area, we saw tens of policemen and military officers surrounding the area and no one was allowed in, one of the guards said.
It was later revealed that the PSO serves as prison for tens of fundamental Islamists, who were arrested part of the campaign against terror.
Among the Islamists imprisoned in the PSO are some members of the Abyan Islamic Army, whose leader al-Mihdar was executed after being convicted of kidnapping and murdering four Western tourists in January 1999.
This comes in a time the government is expected to intensify its cooperation with the USA in fighting terrorism as a security agreement was reached between Yemen and the USA to send American trainers and equipment to Yemen.
The agreement focused on providing the Yemeni military and intelligence units with expertise and training to more efficiently combat and crack down on terrorists who have been causing a lot of concern for the government for some time.
Yemen is still chasing two al-Qaeda suspects, namely al-Harethi and al-Ahdal, believed to be involved in terrorist attacks on Yemeni soil and abroad.

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