Gunmen toss grenade at home of Yemen info minister

SANAA Sun May 13, 2012 8:50am EDT

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SANAA (Reuters) - Unidentified assailants hurled a hand grenade at the house of Yemen's Information Minister Ali al-Amrani in Sanaa, injuring one person when they opened fire as they fled the scene, the minister's office said on Sunday.

Abdel-Basset al-Qaedi, a member of the minister's staff, said two men on a motorcycle threw the grenade at a wing of the building housing the minister's bodyguards late on Saturday, causing no casualties. A bystander was injured in the foot during a shoot-out as the men escaped, he added.

The incident underscored the fragile security situation in the country, where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, urged on by the United States, is trying to crush Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda in the south.

In January, gunmen opened fire on the information minister's car in an apparent assassination attempt, and on Saturday Bulgaria's ambassador to Yemen escaped an apparent kidnap attempt in the capital.

The government has launched a new offensive against the Islamists after U.S. officials said they thwarted a plot to bomb an airliner by Yemen's al Qaeda wing.

On Saturday, two apparent U.S. drone attacks killed at least 10 suspected al Qaeda-linked militants.

Washington backed a power transfer plan that made Hadi the successor to President Ali Abdullah Saleh in February, following a year of mass protests which coincided with a split in the army that threatened to erupt into civil war.

The United States and Saudi Arabia, both targets of failed attacks by Yemen's al Qaeda branch, want Hadi to unite the army and roll back gains made by Islamists who seized southern towns during the political turmoil.

Washington has stepped up its drone attacks in Yemen since Hadi took office, and the Pentagon said this week that it was sending military trainers into the country.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Joseph Logan; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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