Yemen bombers target S Koreans again
South Korea warned its nationals to be on alert in the Middle East after Seoul officials visiting Yemen to investigate a deadly bombing came under attack themselves yesterday.
A suicide bomber targeted a convoy of vehicles taking officials and relatives to the airport after their trip to investigate Sunday's bombing blamed on Al-Qaeda, which killed four Korean tourists and their Yemeni guide.
The bomber detonated his explosives belt as the delegation was driving to the airport in the capital Sanaa, local security officials said. Car windows were shattered but no one was hurt.
"We express great concern," said foreign ministry spokesman Moon Tae-Young.
"We are urging our diplomatic missions, Korean travellers and businessmen in the region to be cautious about possible dangers."
Moon said it was unclear whether the explosion was aimed at Koreans or whether the bomber believed the convoy was carrying Yemeni officials, since it was led by a police car.
An unidentified foreign ministry official told Yonhap news agency: "The vehicles were unmarked. We asked for protection and a police car led our convoy. That might have attracted attention."
In Yemen a senior security official said security services had been alerted to a possible attack at the airport. Officials at the scene said they found a piece of the bomber's identity card, showing that he was a 20-year-old student.
The four Korean tourists were killed on Sunday while watching the sun set over the historic mud-brick eastern city of Shibam. The country's official news agency said a teenager who had been "tricked by al-Qaeda into wearing an explosives vest" was to blame.
al-Qaeda has claimed a spate of attacks in Yemen targeting tourists, foreign missions and oil installations. South Korea has designated the entire country as a "travel restriction" area and strongly advised its citizens to avoid it.
The attack was the worst incident involving South Korean travellers since 2007, when 23 Christian aid workers were taken hostage by Taliban rebels in Afghanistan.