Fireworks spark rumors of attack near U.S. embassy in Yemen

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Fireworks at a wedding being celebrated within earshot of the U.S. embassy in Yemen sparked rumors of an attack on the mission, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

Some media had reported a large explosion and heavy gunfire Monday night near the U.S. mission in Sanaa, while witnesses and security sources told AFP a brief gun battle had erupted in the vicinity.

The ministry in a statement denied “information reported by certain media of an explosion and shooting in a street near the American embassy in Sanaa.”

“During a wedding procession in the street participants set off fireworks,” said the statement, as published by the Saba state news agency.

The U.S. State Department late Monday said there was “no indication that online reports of an attack on or near the U.S. embassy in Yemen are accurate.”

The U.S. embassy and several Western missions in Yemen closed in August after U.S. warnings of an al-Qaeda attack.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has intensified its attacks on security forces in Yemen, taking advantage of the weakening of the Sanaa central government since a popular uprising that toppled president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.

U.S. officials have said they view al-Qaeda's Yemen franchise as the most dangerous affiliate of the global terror network, following several foiled attacks on the U.S. homeland that were traced back to the group.

Impoverished Yemen is also awash with personal weapons, while some of its tribes are heavily armed.

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