(Reuters) – An al Qaeda splinter group said it launched a rocket toward the U.S. embassy in Sanaa on Saturday, wounding several guards, to retaliate for a purported U.S. drone strike in a northern province of Yemen the day before.
The U.S. State Department said it had no indication that the embassy was the target of the attack and that none of its staff were wounded.
The rocket landed 200 meters from the heavily fortified embassy, hitting members of the Yemeni special police force who guard the site. At least two were wounded, police said.
The attacker fired the rocket from a car using a M72 light anti-tank weapon before speeding away, a police source told Reuters.
Several hours after the attack, Ansar al-Sharia, an affiliate of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said on its Twitter account it had targeted the embassy with a rocket, injuring several guards and damaging a vehicle.
The group said the attack was revenge for a drone strike on Friday that had seriously wounded children in the northern al Jawf province.
Tribal sources confirmed that a drone strike killed two al Qaeda members and wounded two more in al Jawf on Friday, and that there were reports of some children having been wounded.
The United States regularly uses drones to attack Islamist militants in countries such asYemen as part of a strategy to combat al Qaeda militants without committing troops on the ground.
Washington acknowledges using drones in Yemen but does not comment publicly on the practice. Al Qaeda and its affiliates in Yemen are among the most active wings of the network founded by Osama bin Laden.