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Al-Qaeda claims attack on Iran envoy house

Large explosion shakes Yemen capital targeting home of Iranian ambassador, Al Arabiya correspondent reports

Published: Updated:

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a car bomb on the home of Iranian ambassador in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

“The mujaheddin managed this morning to park a car loaded with explosives near the house of the Iranian ambassador and detonated it at 9:02 am (local time),” the terrorist group said in a statement on its Twitter account.

Yemeni security sources described the bombing as a suicide attack and said the ambassador and Iranian staff were unharmed.

Ambassador Hassan Sayed Nam was not in the house when the attack took place in the diplomatic district of Hada.

Iran, the Middle East's major Shi'ite power, backs Yemen's Shi'ite Houthi rebel movement that took over Sanaa in September and has since seized swathes of the country's north and center.

Wednesday's attack, the second such bombing in the capital in as many months, blew a large hole in the Iranian residence and sent rubble flying across the street of the well-guarded diplomatic quarter of the city, a Reuters witness said.

A medical official said a Yemeni civilian and two soldiers were killed. Seventeen people, mostly employees from a nearby oil ministry building, were wounded.

Security officials said the ambassador was unhurt, having left his residence for the embassy 10 minutes before the attack.

“Glass shattered on me from the force of the explosion,” Bashir al-Ossaimy, who works at a drug company opposite the residence, told Reuters. He had two bandages on his face, a swollen eye and bloodstained jacket and shirt.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the global jihadist group's Yemen wing, claimed responsibility for a bombing in Sanaa on Oct. 9 when a suicide attacker struck a Houthi checkpoint, killing 47 people.

AQAP decries Iranian influence in politically volatile Yemen and rejects the political ascendancy of the Houthis, who took over Sanaa after weeks of anti-government demonstrations.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told the official news agency IRNA that Tehran counted on Yemen to “quickly identify and punish the culprits behind the terrorist act.”

Inside the embassy compound, an Iranian flag was draped over some of the rubble left by the explosion. Part of the perimeter wall had caved in and several Houthi militia officials were on the scene, as well as regular Yemeni security officials.

[With Reuters]