Incident Summary:

09/17/2008: On Wednesday, between 0915 and 0930, suspected Al Qaeda militants disguised as security forces detonated two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, fired rocket propelled grenades, rockets and firearms on the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, San'a, Yemen. A suicide bomber also blew himself up at the embassy. Six Yemeni police, four civilians, including an American civilian, and six attackers were killed while six others were wounded in the attack. Nineteen people were arrested in connection with the attack. The Islamic Jihad, a group connected with Al Qaeda in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack occurred at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, San'a, Yemen.




Middle East & North Africa

region/u.s. state:

Amanat Al Asimah


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (Diplomatic)
Name of Entity United States Embassy
Specific Description The United States Embassy in Yemen
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Unknown
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Vehicle
Explosives Suicide (carried bodily by human being)
Explosives Projectile (rockets, mortars, RPGs, etc.)
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Weapon Details
Two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, a suicide bomber, rocket propelled grenades, rockets and firearms were used in the attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Al-Qaida in Yemen Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Unknown)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 19
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 16 Fatalities / 6 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 16
Number of U.S. Fatalities 1
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 6
Total Number of Injured 6
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Zain Verjee, Caroline Faraj and Mark Bixler, "Al Qaeda Blamed for U.S. Embassy Attack," Cable News Network,
Ian Black and James Orr, "Yemeni Police Arrest 19 After Deadly Suicide Bomb Attack on US Embassy," Guardian, September 18, 2008.
National Counterterrorism Center, "Six Security Guards, Three Civilians, One Nurse Killed, Three Civilians Wounded in VBIED and Armed Attack by al-Qaida in Yemen in Sanaa, San'a', Yemen," Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, September 3, 2009.