SAN’A, Yemen — At least 25 militants with suspected links to al-Qaida have been arrested in connection with the deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital, a senior security official said Thursday.
The Yemeni official said the 25 have been rounded up from various parts of Yemen over the past 24 hours and were being questioned by Yemeni and U.S. investigators. It is not unusual for authorities in Yemen, a key partner in the U.S. led war on terror but for years an al-Qaida stronghold, to round up a large number of suspects in the wake of a terror attack.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said a U.S. team, possibly from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was on its way to Yemen to take charge of the investigation. A U.S. Embassy official would not confirm the dispatch of an FBI team. The attack Wednesday killed 16 people but failed to breach the compound’s walls. None of those killed or wounded were U.S. diplomats or embassy employees. In Washington, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning, asking American citizens to “defer nonessential travel” to Yemen. Those already in the country, it said, should monitor the embassy’s Web site and “make emergency contingency plans.”
Citing a “high security threat level” in Yemen, the State Department said it would “authorize” the departure of the embassy’s “non-emergency personnel and eligible family members.” The warning stops short of ordering such people to evacuate.
Also Thursday, an Associated Press reporter who visited the embassy saw a group of non-Yemeni men investigating the damage caused by the attack outside the embassy’s large walls, which stand about a 100 meters away from the compound’s main building.