State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Washington was eyeing Al-Qaeda after Islamist militants attacked the embassy in Sanaa with a car bomb and rockets in the second strike on the high-security compound in six months.
VIDEO: US embassy attacked
“I think it is safe to say … the attacks bear all the hallmarks of an Al-Qaeda attack,” said McCormack, after a group calling itself the Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack.
He added the attack was carried out on the embassy by “multiple vehicle-born devices along with personnel on foot seemingly in an attempt to try to breach it and actually get inside the perimeter and inflict further damage.”
“Sometimes you have sub-contactors or front group for Al-Qaeda,” McCormack said. “They might use different names. At this point I am not prepared to draw some exact linkage for you but again if you look at the facts on the ground, it looks a lot like what we have seen in the past from Al-Qaeda.”
President George W. Bush said the attack was a bid by extremists to drive the United States out of regions like the Middle East.
“This attack is a reminder that we are at war with extremists who would murder innocent people to achieve their ideological objectives,” Bush said as he met with the former top US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus.
“One objective of these extremists as they kill is to try to cause the United States to lose our nerve and to withdraw from regions of the world, and our message is — is that we want to help governments survive the extremists, we want people to live normal lives,” said the US president.
The dead were six Yemeni soldiers, four civilians including an Indian and six attackers — one wearing an explosives belt, the interior ministry said, while a US official said there were no American casualties.
Bush also offered condolences to the families of the security forces killed.
In New York, UN chief Ban Ki-moon on strongly condemned as “totally unacceptable” the “terrorist” car bombing in Sanaa.
The “desperate” attack on the US embassy was “an attempt by the terrorists to retaliate for the successful government measures which finished off or besieged a number of terrorist groups,” Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi told European Union ambassadors posted in Sanaa, according to Saba.