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Bush: Yemen Attack Reminder US Is At War


President George Bush says the attack near the U.S. embassy in Yemen is a reminder that America is at war with ideological extremists.

Islamist militants are claiming responsibility for the car bomb strike outside the embassy in Sanaa today, Wednesday that killed at least 16 people. A group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen also threatened further strikes. Speaking at the White House, Mr. Bush offered his condolences to victims of the attack. He said such violence will not make the U.S. "lose its nerve" and withdraw from regions of the world.

A U.S. State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack said the attack was a failed attempt to breach security around the embassy. He said the strike, which included two car bombs and attackers on foot, bore the hallmarks of Al-Qaida. But he added that so far the U.S. has not concluded who is to blame.

Police have cordoned off the area. Officials say six Yemeni soldiers and six attackers are among the dead. Also killed were Yemeni civilians waiting to enter the compound. There were no reports of American casualties. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the attack, adding that attacks on diplomatic facilities and personnel are against international law and "totally unacceptable." In recent years, Islamic extremists have carried out several attacks in Yemen targeting Americans.

In April, the U.S. State Department ordered non-essential staff to leave Yemen, following a militant attack on a residential compound and an al-Qaida attack targeting the U.S. embassy. The most violent strike against U.S. interests in Yemen occurred in 2000, when attackers rammed their speedboat into the U.S.S. Cole in the port of Aden, killing 17 U.S. sailors. Yemen is the ancestral homeland of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

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