Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Deputy ambassador survives attack

Yemeni security forces and forensics personnel attend the scene (AP)
Yemeni policemen attend the scene where an attack took place on a convoy carrying a senior British diplomat in San'a, Yemen. (AP Photo)
Yemeni security forces and forensics personnel attend the scene where an attack took place on a convoy carrying a British diplomat in San'a, Yemen. (AP Photo)

Britain's deputy ambassador to Yemen survived a rocket attack on an embassy vehicle.

Fionna Gibb was unhurt in the blast in the capital Sana'a on Wednesday morning, which injured one of her colleagues.

It is the second time in six months that British officials have been targeted in the country. In April, Tim Torlot, the then British ambassador in Yemen, escaped unharmed after a suicide bomber wearing a school uniform detonated an explosives belt.

A Foreign Office spokesman said five people were inside the armoured car at the time of the latest attack.

She said: "The vehicle was on its way to the British Embassy, with five embassy staff on board. One member of staff suffered minor injuries and is undergoing treatment, all others were unhurt. We are informing their families at the moment. We are aware of at least two bystanders injured during the attack, and are seeking further detail."

Sources confirmed that Ms Gibb, deputy head of UK mission to Yemen, was inside the vehicle and said she was not injured. An official in Yemen said three bystanders were wounded.

The blast comes two days after Yemeni authorities boosted security around embassies in the capital after information about an attack planned by al Qaida.

Foreign Secretary William Hague described the attack as "shameful".

He said: "This morning's attack on staff of the British Embassy in Sana'a highlights the risks our diplomats face working for Britain's interests abroad. I am relieved to hear that only one minor injury was caused. I am full of admiration for the way our embassy is dealing with this difficult situation.

"The members of staff affected are receiving the full support of their colleagues and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This shameful attack on British diplomats will only redouble Britain's determination to work with the government of Yemen to help address the challenges that country faces."

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