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Sunday, 29 September, 2002, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Gun battle outside British embassy
Sanaa
There have no reports of British casualties
A gun fight has taken place near the British embassy in Yemen.

Unconfirmed reports said four people, including two police officers, were killed near the British embassy in the capital Sanaa on Sunday.


Moments later all hell broke loose

Senior embassy staff member

The shoot-out between police and armed tribesmen followed an incident at a wedding hall, a government official told Reuters news agency.

The embassy was not a target and the incident was not politically motivated, the official said.

"It started after an argument between armed tribesmen and police officers who tried to enforce laws barring Yemenis from carrying weapons in Sanaa and major cities," the official continued.

Witnesses had reported four people had died and a further four people had been injured.

But the government official said three Yemenis had been injured.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed there were no injuries among the embassy employees.

Police surround building

Earlier British ambassador Frances Guy told reporters: "The fight was triggered when the guards ordered a car to move away from the embassy premise, but the men in the car refused to comply.

"They threatened the guards and dragged one of them to their car," she said.

"There were no injuries among the British embassy staff, but we can hear the bullets coming into our direction," the ambassador said.

A senior embassy staff member said two cars had been asked to move.

"Moments later all hell broke loose," he said.

Police have surrounded the building and all roads leading to the embassy are blocked.

Security has been increased at the US and British embassies in the past two months in Yemen.

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


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