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Sixteen killed in US embassy attack -

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ELEANOR HALL: The United States says an attack on its embassy in Yemen has only stiffened its
resolve to fight terrorism.

Sixteen people, including six of the bombers, were killed in the attack and the United States is
pointing the finger at al-Qaeda.

Analysts say Yemen has a reputation as a safe haven for terrorists but that recently the government
has been trying to crack down on militants.

Michael Edwards has our report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: It's the latest incident in a country regarded as a terrorist hot-spot. In what's
being described as a "sophisticated" operation, militants driving cars packed with explosives and
armed with rocket launchers attacked the US embassy compound in the Yemeni capital of San'a.

The attackers killed six Yemeni policemen and four civilians. Six militants also lost their lives.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the attack bears the hallmarks of al-Qaeda.

SEAN MCCORMACK: We have multiple vehicle-borne devises, along with personnel on foot, seemingly in
an attempt to try to breach the perimeter, actually get inside, get inside the perimeter and again
try to inflict further damage and inflict loss of life.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Media reports say a group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen has claimed
responsibility.

Associate Professor David Wright-Neville, a terrorism expert from Monash University says it's a
strong likelihood that this group is linked to al-Qaeda.

DAVID WRIGHT-NEVILLE: Yemen is an area where al-Qaeda has been very active in the past.

Yemen is bin Laden's ancestral home. He's a Hadrami whose family originally came from Yemen and
settled in Saudi Arabia. There have been previous attacks by al-Qaeda in Yemen.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Bordering Saudi Arabia and Oman, Yemen is regarded as an emerging centre for
Islamic terrorism.

The most significant attack on its soil against US interests came in 2000 when 17 sailors were
killed in a suicide bomb strike on the "USS Cole". In recent months there have been several other
smaller attacks.

And David Wright-Neville says recently the Yemeni Government has cooperated more closely with the
United States to crack down on terror groups.

DAVID WRIGHT-NEVILLE: There's been a number of attacks against American interests in Yemen this
year. This is the most significant, obviously, outside the US embassy.

But at the same time I think it's designed to send a message to the government in Yemen that its
cooperation with the Americans is likely to be punished because as a subsidiary to this attack
there was of course an assault against a police station.

And so there are multiple audiences that this act of terrorism was designed to cater to.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: David Wright-Neville says the democratically elected Yemeni Government faces a
tough dilemma when it comes to dealing with the US. Support for Islamic militants is considered to
be strong among the Yemeni population.

Terrorism experts say outside the major cities the Government is often left no choice but to leave
militant groups to their own devices.

In recent years the Government has introduced a de-radicalisation program aimed at re-educating
terrorists.

David Wright-Neville says these programs have mixed results.

DAVID WRIGHT-NEVILLE: Some people suggest it's been fairly successful, especially in the prisons
and it has robbed some of the extremist movements of some potentially very valuable young recruits.

But others suggest that you know, they're a bit more, I should say, they're a bit more sceptical
about this program. Their argument is that the de-radicalisation program simply means a few
perfunctory lessons in a moderate form of Islam and then sort of let them out of prison and push
them across the border into Iraq.

ELEANOR HALL: Terrorism analyst David Wright-Neville ending Michael Edwards' report.