Latest attack on Belgians severely affects tourism in Yemen, Al-Qaeda claims responsibility [Archives:2008/1124/Local News]

January 28 2008

Hadramout, Jan. 26 ) The secretary-general of the Yemeni Union for Hotels and general manager of the Yemeni Hotels Company, Tawfeeq al-Khamiri told the media on Saturday that the tourism sector in Yemen was severely affected by the latest terrorist attack on a Belgian tourist convoy in Hadramout's Do'an area, killing two Belgians and two Yemenis.

News Yemen website quoted Al-Khamir that many reservations were canceled after the attack. He also criticized the official media, accusing them of “misleading people when it declined to mention any effect on tourism after the terrorist act.” He stated, “Official media outlets do not give facts about the great financial losses the private sector is suffering. Revenue lost from the private tourism sector has amounted to millions of dollars.”

He said his company and other tourism agencies in Yemen have discharged some employees and given some others open vacations as revenues of the tourism movement declined. He said the state's policy towards tourism was wrong. “Official promises to support tourism and offer exemptions and facilities haven't materialized yet,” he stated.

A local newspaper reported that an Al-Qaeda source announced in a telephone call that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack in Hadramout last Friday.

Al-Wasat weekly mentioned that the Al-Qaeda source told them the attack came in retaliation for bad and inhumane treatment of Al-Qaeda militants in political security prisons. It said that some Al-Qaeda militants are suffering from serious diseases and some have died due to mistreatment.

The source also refuted statements by security authorities that some of the attackers have been arrested. It said it is impossible for the attackers who carefully planned the attack to be captured so easily, and that the people arrested were not Al-Qaeda militants, but normal citizens who have no identification cards.