Yemen - Reuters - Oct 6, 2010
Policemen stand guard outside the state security court in Sanaa. Photo by Reuters
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Suspected al-Qaida militants attacked two Western targets in Yemen on Wednesday, firing a rocket at a senior British diplomat's car and killing a Frenchman at a gas and oil installation.

The attacks bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida, which has threatened to strike against Western targets and the Yemeni government, which declared war on the group's local arm after it claimed a failed attack on a U.S.-bound airliner in December.

In London, the British Foreign Office said a missile was fired at a British embassy vehicle in Sanaa carrying the deputy chief of the British mission and one British embassy staff member in the vehicle suffered a minor injury.

"The vehicle was on its way to the British embassy, with five embassy staff on board," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

"One member of staff suffered minor injuries and is undergoing treatment, all others were unhurt."

A security source in Yemen said three Yemeni bystanders were wounded. President Ali Abdullah Saleh later met the British ambassador to discuss the incident.

The Frenchman died in a shooting incident inside the compound of Austrian-owned oil and gas group OMV France's Foreign Ministry said. A security source said a Yemeni guard working for a private security firm went on a shooting spree, and government forces subsequently disarmed him.

In London, Foreign Secretary William Hague called it a "shameful attack". He said the attack would only reinforce Britain's determination to help Yemen confront its challenges.

Both attacks followed tightened security in the capital of the embattled country whose conflicts with a resurgent al-Qaida, secessionists in the south and Shi'ite rebels in the north has raised Western and Gulf Arab fears it is on the verge of becoming a failed state.

Those fears worsened after the Yemen-based arm of al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the botched bombing of the U.S.-bound airliner. The group also said it was behind a failed assassination attempt on the deputy interior minister of Saudi Arabia, Yemen's neighbor and the world's top oil exporter.

An al-Qaida suicide bomber attacked the British ambassador's convoy in April, killing himself and injuring three others.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula said it was behind that attack, accusing the British envoy of leading a war on Muslims in the peninsula.