SANAA (AFP) – The British embassy in Yemen reopened on Sunday almost two weeks after it was closed when its ambassador narrowly escaped a suicide bombing that targeted his convoy.
“The embassy has reopened… from today,” an official at the embassy in Sanaa told AFP.
The British mission had been shut down since a failed attempt to blow up the convoy of ambassador Timothy Torlot near the Movenpick Hotel on April 26.
Six days later, the US embassy in Yemen advised its staff to avoid the same hotel, known to be frequented by Westerners.
The suicide bomber, whose body was torn into pieces, had wounded three bystanders and damaged a police escort car as he hurled himself at the convoy detonating his explosive belt.
Yemen’s interior ministry had said the attack bore the “fingerprints of Al-Qaeda,” and identified the assailant as Othman Ali Nouman al-Salawi.
The US and British missions were shut for several days in January following indications that the Yemen branch of Al-Qaeda was targeting Western interests.
In the same month, London had hosted an international conference on the Islamic militant threat against Yemen, Al-Qaeda leader’s Osama bin Laden’s ancestral homeland.
Britain was also a prime mover behind a follow-up aid meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh the next month.
Yemen’s defence ministry said in late December that an attack against the British embassy was foiled after an Al-Qaeda cell in Arhab, 35 kilometres (20 miles) north of the capital, was dismantled.
The attack on the British embassy “was to be modelled on the operation that was carried out against the American embassy” in 2008, which killed 16 people, the defence ministry said at the time.