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The BBC's Caroline Hawley
"This may have been a deliberate attack on a Western target"
 real 28k

UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
"We deplore this incident"
 real 28k

Friday, 13 October, 2000, 12:35 GMT
Explosion hits UK Yemen embassy
Yemen capital of Sana'a
The explosion happened in the capital Sana'a
A bomb explosion has rattled the British embassy in the Yemen, as the crisis in the Middle East continues to deepen.

An investigation is now under way into the incident, which happened in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a at 0610 local time (0310 GMT) on Friday.

It comes a day after a suspected suicide attack on a US destroyer in the port of Aden, which killed six US sailors and left 11 missing and 35 wounded.

The UK Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook - who is currently on a diplomatic mission in the region - said he understood that a bomb had been thrown over the embassy wall.

"By ill luck it hit a diesel generator, which created a substantial explosion," Mr Cook told the BBC.

'Terrorist incidents'

He said British diplomats in Sana'a had been on alert for some time because there had been a number of "terrorist incidents" in the region.

Yemen graphic
The Sana'a explosion follows an attack in Aden
The British consul general in Aden said there were no casualties but security had immediately been stepped up.

The explosion is said to have shattered windows and caused damage to some offices.

A team of investigators is now being sent from London.

It is not yet clear whether the explosion is linked to the bombing of the US warship.

Escalating conflict

But both incidents have heightened fears that Westerners are being drawn into the conflict and that violence could spread uncontrolled through the region.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
Robin Cook says security has been stepped up
Intense diplomatic efforts are now under way in a bid to prevent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians spiralling into all-out war in the Middle East.

Escalating violence which on Thursday took the death toll to more than 100, saw Israeli helicopter gunships rocketing targets close to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's base in Gaza city.

The move came in retaliation for the mob killing of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah on the West Bank.

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See also:

12 Oct 00 | Middle East
Blast holes US warship
13 Oct 00 | Middle East
Mid-East braces for more violence
13 Oct 00 | UK
Guarding our embassies
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