Six Spanish tourists and one Yemeni were killed in an attack by a suspected al-Qaeda suicide car bomber in the Yemeni province of Marib on Monday, security sources said.
Security sources said the ”terrorist attack” followed an al-Qaeda statement demanding the release of some of its members jailed in Yemen and warned of unspecified actions.
One security source said six of the 13 Spanish tourists travelling in a convoy near a tourist attraction in Marib were killed in the car-bomb attack and the rest were wounded.
Spain’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the toll in the attack in Marib, about 150km east of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.
”According to preliminary information the blast could be the result of a car bomb that hit a convoy of [Spanish] tourists,” one provincial authority source told Reuters. ”Investigations are under way,” he said, adding that preliminary information indicated the attack was a suicide bombing.
Yemen is the ancestral home of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It joined the United States-led war on terrorism launched after the September 11 attacks on the US in 2001 and has been battling Islamic militants for years.
The security sources said al-Qaeda also demanded that Sanaa reconsider its cooperation with Washington.
In March a French student and a Yemeni man were killed and another Frenchman was wounded when Shi’ite rebels attacked an Islamic college in a volatile area in northern Yemen. The rebels are not linked to al-Qaeda.
Yemen foiled two suicide attacks on oil and gas installations in 2006, days after al-Qaeda urged Muslims to target Western interests, especially oil installations.
al-Qaeda’s wing in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks and vowed more strikes in the Arab state.
In 2002 militants bombed the French oil super tanker, Limburg, off Yemen’s coast. In 2000, a suicide attack on US warship Cole killed 17 US sailors.
Yemen, on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, has been widely seen in the West as a haven for Muslim militants, including al-Qaeda supporters. — Reuters