A car bomb set off a series of blasts outside the heavily fortified American embassy in Yemen on Wednesday and a Yemeni security source said at least 16 people, including six attackers, died.
"This morning a car exploded at the main gate of the embassy in Sanaa. There was an initial explosion and several secondary explosions," a U.S. embassy spokesman told Reuters.
A group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened similar attacks on other embassies including those of Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It had threatened in a previous statement on Tuesday to launch a series of attacks unless the Yemeni government met its demands to free several members from jail.
"We, the organisation of Islamic Jihad in Yemen declare our responsibility for the suicide attack on the American embassy in Sanaa," the statement read. "We will carry out the rest of the series of attacks on the other embassies that were declared previously, until our demands are met by the Yemeni government."
Smoke was seen rising from the U.S. compound in Sanaa and ambulances and fire engines raced to the scene, which was cordoned off by police, witnesses said.
A security source said that six attackers and four bystanders died, while the rest were Yemeni policemen.