US embassy attack suspects cleared [Archives:2008/1140/Local News]

March 24 2008

SANA'A, March 23 ) Five suspects who were thought to be involved in the attack on the US embassy were released yesterday as the search for the criminals continues. According to the Ministry of Interior the investigation is still on going and so far nobody is charged with the crime.

“There are people working on the issue, and the capital secretariat security office is on top of the investigation,” said Mohammed Al-Qawsi deputy Minister of Interior.

The US embassy personnel have recommenced working since Saturday although still on their guard because the criminals are not caught yet. The Department of State authorized the departure from Yemen of non-emergency American employees of the U.S. Embassy and eligible family members.

Meanwhile, the significant security presence that was seen last week in the area has slowly decreased and the main road to the embassy that was blocked post the incident has been opened since Saturday.

“We are cooperating with Yemeni authorities and we know that certain units at the Ministry of Interior are working on the case, although the embassy is operating, we have taken appropriate precautions to ensure safety of our staff and citizens,” said Embassy Public Affairs Officer Ryan Gliha.

On its travel warnings site, the Department of State urged U.S. citizens to consider deferring non-essential travel to Yemen at this time. It declared the security threat level as high due to terrorist activities in Yemen. It also advised U.S. citizens who remain in Yemen to keep a low profile and avoid hotels, restaurants and crowds.

Although the recent attack last Tuesday did not hit the embassy itself, the three mortars that are thought to have been launched from a pickup truck on the road hit the all girls school adjacent to the embassy.

One government security officer who was stationed at the area was killed while 13 of the students were injured. Three of the injured students are being treated in Jordan on the expense of the Yemeni government.

Five soldiers stationed at the site were also injured at the incident.

The American ambassador visited the victims the following day to the attack, and expressed his and his people's sympathies. After a two-day halt the students reluctantly returned to the school with a large absenteeism percentage. The families and teachers are still insecure and shocked at how vulnerable they are being adjacent to the embassy. On Saturday morning the school administration held an assembly with the students in support of the victims and to condemn the attack.

In an attempt to lift spirits the Ministry of Education awarded the school a national recognition for its efforts in environmental awareness and protection.