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Yemen Arrests Suspects in US Embassy Bombing

Al Arabiya TV is reporting the Yemeni government has arrested at least 25 people in a crackdown on militants thought to be involved in an attack Wednesday on the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa. For VOA, Edward Yeranian reports from Beirut.

The Yemeni government has reportedly rounded up more than two dozen Islamic militants with suspected ties to al-Qaida, which authorities believe is involved with the deadly car bomb attack Wednesday against the U.S. Embassy.

Al Arabiya TV reports that Yemeni police launched the crackdown, amid threats of further attacks against Western targets. The suspects are reportedly being interrogated by U.S. and Yemeni investigators.

A U.S. official, who refused to be named, confirmed that a team of American investigators had been sent to Yemen, and U.S. Embassy spokesman Ryan Gliha said that both sides are cooperating.

"A joint investigation has now begun," he said, "with cooperation between the Yemeni government, the Yemeni security forces and officials from the U.S. Embassy."

An eyewitness also reported that he had seen foreign investigators in front of the embassy walls, examining debris.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the assault bears the hallmarks of al-Qaida, but the U.S. has not concluded who is to blame. A group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility and threatened further strikes.

The French Press Agency says the group is also demanding the U.S. and British embassies in Yemen be closed if President Ali Abdallah Saleh does not release imprisoned Islamic militants.

The Yemeni government has arrested groups of Islamic militants in recent years, but 23 escaped from prison in 2006, and a number of others were released after pledging not to resort to violence.

At least 16 people, including six assailants, died in yesterday's multi-pronged attack against the U.S. Embassy, which reportedly involved two car bombs.

One U.S. citizen, 18-year-old Susan Albaneh, who is married to a Yemeni national, was killed along with her husband in front of the embassy in the Wednesday attack. It was the second attack on the U.S. Embassy in six months and the fourth since 2003.