At least nine people have been killed after a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into a tourist convoy in Yemen. Seven Spanish tourists and at least two Yemenis died in the blast at the Queen of Sheba temple in Marib. About seven others were injured in the attack which the Spanish foreign minister said he “totally condemned”.
Yemen has faced continuing unrest in recent years, which the government often blames on al-Qaeda operatives. An interior ministry official was quoted by the country’s state news agency as saying that the attack appeared to have been carried out by al-Qaeda. “Preliminary information indicates that the al-Qaeda organisation is behind the cowardly attack,” the official told the Saba news agency.
Witnesses said a vehicle entered a gate at the site, known in Yemen by its Arabic name Balqis, before it ploughed into the convoy of tourist cars and exploded. The victims were reported to belong to a group of around 14 Spanish tourists visiting the site, some 170km (110 miles) east of the capital, Sanaa.
Witnesses said the bomb went off at around 1800 (1500 GMT) on Monday as the visitors were finishing a tour of the temple, built 3,000 years ago at the time of the Queen of Sheba. In recent year’s Yemen’s government has been fighting Islamists with the help of US special forces based in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. Al-Qaeda has demanded the release of militants jailed in the country.
Attacks in Yemen:
- October 2000: Seventeen US sailors die in suicide attack on USS Cole in Yemeni port
- October 2002: A similar attack against French tanker the Limburg kills one Bulgarian and wounds 12 others
- March 2003: A Canadian is killed and another wounded after a Yemeni gunman opens fire at an oilfield east of Sanaa
- September2006: Four bombers and a security guard die when Yemeni security forces foil suicide attacks against two oil refineries
As I have posted in the Spanish blog, the two Yemenis dead are the guide and the interpretor.
The others are wounded but only one of them is in the Intensive Care Unit, a woman in her thirties.
Spanish FM Moratinos has maintained constant contact with the Yemeni Foreign Viceminister who has given him the terrorist attack’s data and the condolences of the Yemeni people.
Judge Fernando Andreu (Instruction Judge nº4 of the National Court) has begun an investigation into the case.
Foreign Affairs Ministry has recommended “extreme caution” to tourists travelling abroad.
Spanish newspaper ABC.es writes:
In its slow progress through times, the Yemeni Republic has rigin laws. Their women maintain the most strict black clothing, which covers them all the face but their eyes [Note: that is called “niqab”] and its legislations includes the death punishment for homosexuals.
Yes, it is certainly an slow progress.
Anyway, we have to see the profound joke this means for Spanish Government. It is not Iraq, it is not Afghanistan, it is not … It is just ourselves, our history, our own past and present what makes us be the targets. Till Europe, US, Australia, etc. do not take into account that this is not of what we do, but what we are, the measures Government will take, will not be sufficient or will be directly incorrect. And people will continue dying. And the terrorists will continue their horror campaign.