Car bomb rocks diplomatic quarter in Yemen

Blast kills at least four and destroys supermarket


SAN`A, Yemen -- A powerful car bomb that exploded early yesterday in a diplomatic quarter of Yemen's capital killed several people, sparked a fire that gutted a supermarket used by the city's foreign residents and severely damaged several diplomatic buildings, including the Turkish Embassy and the French ambassador's residence.

Early indications were that no diplomats or foreign aid workers were among the dead and seriously wounded, although many appeared to have narrow escapes. A United Nations official said some staff members living in the area woke to find windows shattered and doors askew. The U.S. Embassy, situated several miles from the blast, was not affected, although officials there reported hearing the explosion.

A dozen hours after the 2 a.m. blast, government officials said four people had died, and possibly several others. The officials said the confirmed dead included four Yemenites, including a guard at the City Center supermarket, which appeared to have been the main target of the attack, and a resident living nearby. A guard at the offices of Canadian Occidental Petroleum, one of many foreign-owned companies in the area, was also killed.

Within hours, at least two other, minor bombings were reported elsewhere in this nation of 16 million people, which is struggling with the aftereffects of a 1994 civil war and with other tensions, including sporadic violence by a radical Islamic group.

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