SAN’A, Yemen – An al-Qaida suicide bomber drove into a convoy of Spanish tourists visiting an ancient temple, officials said, killing seven Spaniards and two Yemenis less than two weeks after a U.S. terror warning about the area.
Witnesses said the bomber drove a car through the gate of the temple compound, and the vehicle exploded near the structure, which was built about 3,000 years ago and dedicated to the Queen of Sheba.
Spain’s foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, said seven dead and five wounded – one seriously – were Spaniards killed when the bomber drove into the middle of the convoy.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack in the central Marib province, about 85 miles east of the capital San’a, but authorities linked the suicide bomber to al-Qaida. Police said they received information last month about a possible al-Qaida attack.
Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. Embassy warned Americans to avoid the area. On June 23 in the neighboring Shabwa province, a Yemeni guard opened fire on a group of foreign oil workers shortly after they landed at a company airstrip, killing one and wounding five – including an American.
The provincial governor said at the time that the guard was mentally ill, but the U.S. Embassy in San’a canceled travel to the two provinces “for the near future” and recommended that Americans avoid the area. Spain has also issued warnings about the area.
Al-Qaida has an active presence in Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, despite government efforts to fight the terror network.
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