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Yemeni Authorities Detain Man Who Threw Two Grenades - 2002-03-15

Yemeni authorities are holding a man who threw two small explosive devices apparently concussion grenades at the U.S. embassy in the capital Sanaa. The incident occurred a day after Vice President Dick Cheney paid a brief visit to Yemen but U.S. officials are downplaying the matter.

Security for U.S. personnel in Yemen has been a top concern for two governments since the terrorist attack on the navy destroyer the USS Cole in the port of Aden a year and a half ago. But officials here are minimizing the importance of Friday's incident, which was apparently staged by a single individual and caused no damage.

"A person was outside one of the perimeter walls of our compound at the embassy in Yemen. He threw two objects which appeared to have bounced off the walls and exploded. There was no damage. There was no injury in these explosions. That person is currently in custody of Yemeni authorities," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Mr. Boucher said Yemeni officials will investigate the incident and that security at the embassy has been tightened. On Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney visited the Sanaa airport for a two-hour meeting with Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh on the war on terrorism and the expanding U.S.-Yemeni bilateral relationship.