Authorities told news agencies that no Americans were killed
or injured in the assault. The coordinated attack prompted a firefight with
security guards that raged for at least 10 minutes at the concrete barriers
that circle the compound.
The dead included six attackers, six Yemeni guards and four
civilians, the state news agency SABA reported, according to the Associated
In one account of the assault, gunmen in a vehicle attacked
a checkpoint outside the embassy around 9:15 a.m. Wednesday morning with RPGs
and automatic weapons, Yemeni security officials told the AP.
During the attack, suicide bombers in a vehicle made it
through an outer checkpoint and hit a second, inner ring of concrete blocks
before detonating, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. Embassy said in a statement that the facility had
been attacked by “armed terrorists,” with several explosions “in
the vicinity” of the main gate that killed an injured a number of guards
and Yemeni citizens waiting to enter the embassy.
“Today’s events demonstrate that terrorist criminals
will not hesitate to kill innocent citizens and those charged with protecting
them,” the embassy said in a statement.
It was the deadliest attack on the U.S. facility, located in
an eastern San’a district, which has been targeted four times in recent years
by bombings, mortars and shootings. There was no immediate claim of
responsibility for Wednesday’s assault.
Last month, a mortar attack targeting the embassy instead
hit a girls’ high school next door, killing a Yemeni security guard and
wounding more than a dozen students.
The U.S. State Department had just recently allowed the
return of non-essential personnel and family members to the embassy. They had
been ordered to leave after the previous attack.
Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, has
struggled to oust al-Qaida-linked Islamic militants, often to the frustration
of U.S. counterterrorism officials. Yemen became a top security concern for the
U.S. after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole at a Yemeni port in 2000.