US warns its diplomats and nationals away from Yemen hotels over threats [Archives:2008/1218/Local News]

December 22 2008

SANA'A, Dec. 21 ) The State department has cautioned US diplomats and nationals that they should avoid using Western hotels in Yemen, in the wake of several terrorist threats.

Ryan Gliha, the public relations officer in the US embassy in Sana'a, confirmed that threats were received, but gave no further comments.

The US embassy stated that it received threats against Western embassies, Western hotels, and Western interests in Sana'a and Aden.

A high ranking official in the US Intelligence Council stated in August that Yemen is rapidly reemerging as a jihadist battleground and is a potential base of operations for large international terrorist attacks.

Similarly, the German embassy had sent SMS warning to its citizens in Yemen to avoid public places where tourists are known to gather in an attempt to prevent further kidnapping of its citizens, in the wake of the kidnapping of three German nationals who had been recently released.

Western hotels have recently been the target of major terrorist attacks in Pakistan and India.

The September 2008 attack in Pakistan was caused by a dump truck filled with explosives detonated in front of the Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, killing at least 54, injuring at least 266 and leaving a 60 ft (20 m) wide, 20 ft (6 m) deep crater outside the hotel. Also in Nov. 2008 India witnessed a series of ten coordinated terrorist attacks across Mumbai. The attacks were carried out by armed men using automatic weapons and grenades killing at least 173 people and at least 308 were injured in the attacks.

The most recent attack against the US embassy in Yemen was on Sept. 17 when two cars carrying a suicide bomber and armed fighters attacked the US Embassy in Sana'a killing sixteen people, four of which were civilians including an Indian, six security guards and six of the attackers.

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

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

In March 2003, two people were shot dead and dozens more injured when police clashed with demonstrators trying to storm the embassy when tens of thousands rallied against the US-led 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-Qaeda local group was blamed for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden in which 17 American sailors died. It was also blamed for the attack on a French oil tanker two years later which resulted in the death of one person.