Thu, May 01, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Car bombs explode near Italian office in Yemen

AFP , SANAA

Two car bombs exploded yesterday inside the compound of customs headquarters, located next to the Italian embassy in Sanaa, as at least seven soldiers were killed in a rebel ambush in the countryside, officials said.

There were no casualties in the blasts, which happened shortly before offices were scheduled to open in a city that has been plagued by attacks in recent weeks.

The officer, attached to the interior ministry, said bombs had been placed in two cars parked inside the compound of the customs offices and a few dozen meters from the wall separating it from the embassy.

“The explosions did not result in any victims, nor in damage to the customs headquarters,” he said.

In Rome, the foreign ministry said it had not received any information suggesting the embassy had been targeted, and Italian news agency Ansa said it appeared as if the target was the customs offices.

In addition to official cars that park there, the compound is used to store vehicles that have been confiscated by customs.

Security forces immediately cordoned off the sector around the site of the blast in al-Safia district, a residential and a business neighborhood that also houses the finance ministry. The cordon was lifted some two hours after the explosions, and customs officials were able to reach their offices.

Meanwhile, seven soldiers were killed and 20 wounded on Tuesday night when a convoy of three troop transports was ambushed by rebels in mountainous Saada province, northwest of the capital, a local official said.

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