DUBAI (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s Yemen wing has claimed a suicide attack on the British ambassador to Sanaa, accusing him of leading a war on Muslims in the Arabian peninsula on Britain’s behalf, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.
The British envoy survived the April 26 attempt on his life, carried out by a suicide bomber who targeted his convoy in Sanaa in an attack Yemen said bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda. The bomber was killed and three people were wounded.
The attack was a reminder that militants were still intent and capable of carrying out high impact attacks despite recent efforts by Sanaa to crack down on the global militant group that has seen a resurgence in impoverished Yemen.
Al Qaeda said the attack was carried out by Uthman Noman al-Salwi, and provided his picture, according to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group which said on Wednesday that the claim had been posted on jihadist forums.
It said the attack was “a martyrdom seeking operation … in Sanaa province, targeting the so-called British ambassador, who leads the war against Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula on behalf of his state.”
“Britain is America’s closest ally in its war on Islam, and it is the one which called the London Conference, in which it plotted against the Arabian Peninsula,” the statement said, referring to a donor conference convened in London this year to discuss ways to help stabilize the impoverished country.
The statement also complained about Britain’s role in the establishment of the state of Israel, according to SITE.
Yemen had identified the bomber as 22-year-old Othman Ali al-Sulwi, whose father said his son had been released from prison earlier this year but disappeared weeks before the attack.
Yemen, next door to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, has been a key Western security concern since the Yemen-based al Qaeda arm claimed responsibility for a failed December attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound passenger plane.
Western countries and Riyadh want Yemen, also grappling with a northern Shi’ite insurgency and southern separatism, to quell its domestic conflicts to turn its focus to the fight against al Qaeda, which they see as a bigger global threat.