US Embassy Barely Escapes Rocket Attack in Yemen

Rocket strikes 650 feet from embassy, wounded Yemeni guards; State Dept. in denial that Sanaa branch was target in attack.

Tova Dvorin ,

Yemeni paramilitary police trooper in Sana'a
Yemeni paramilitary police trooper in Sana'a

Al Qaeda splinter group Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility for an attempted rocket strike on the US embassy in Sanaa on Saturday, saying it was in retaliation for US drone strikes in northern Yemen Friday.

On Saturday, the attacker fired an M72 light anti-tank missile from a passing car before speeding away, security sources told Reuters. The rocket landed 200 meters (656 feet) from the heavily guarded embassy, it added, hitting members of the Yemeni special forces. At least two were wounded. 

The US State Department said it "had no indication" that the embassy was the target of the attack and that none of its staff were wounded.

Unrest continued to foment in Yemen over the weekend, where a separate front in the embattled north between Shi'ite Houthi and Sunni loyalists culminated Saturday in a Houthi attack on the Yemeni head of intelligence's home in Sanaa.

Yemen's government has been struggling to assert its control over parts of the country held by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and sympathetic local tribesmen.

Sanaa's efforts have been backed by the US, with drone strikes and other operations inflicting a heavy toll on the group.

Both sets of clashes caused further instability in the country, as fighting and protests have been dragging on for weeks.