Probe urged into attack on Spanish tourists in Yemen

Prosecutor wants deadly 2007 car bombing investigated after Al Jazeera airs exclusive interview of al-Qaeda informant.

    The 2007 car bombing in Yemen's Marib killed eight Spanish tourists and two Yemenis [AFP]
    The 2007 car bombing in Yemen's Marib killed eight Spanish tourists and two Yemenis [AFP]

    Spain's top prosecutor has asked police to investigate claims by an al-Qaeda informant that he forewarned Yemeni officials of a 2007 car bomb attack at Yemen's Balqis Temple that killed 10 people, including eight Spanish tourists.

    A Spanish police investigation into the claims made by Hani Muhammad Mujahid, a former al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operative, could lead to Spain reopening a judicial investigation into the attack.

    Javier Zaragoza, the prosecutor, made his request following an exclusive interview aired by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit on Thursday in which Mujahid claimed that had he had made two phone calls to warn Yemeni officials before the attack.

    The former informant made the claims to Al Jazeera for a documentary called Al Qaeda Informant, which focuses on his allegations that Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former Yemeni president, supported, and even directed, AQAP while he was Yemen's leader.

    During his work as an informant, Mujahid said he provided information about both a 2008 attack on the US embassy in Sanaa, which killed 18 people, and the attack on Balqis Temple in Marib that killed the Spanish tourists and two Yemenis in July 2007.

    In both cases, he says his information was ignored.

    Investigation call

    On Thursday, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that Esteve Maso, a survivor of the Balqis Temple, had called on Spanish judges and prosecutors to reopen their investigation into the bombing.

    Maso lost his wife in the bombing.

    Judge Fernando Andreu of the Audiencia Nacional, or National Court, led the investigation in 2007.

    A team of investigators went to Yemen at the time. But after giving an initial response to a request for information, Yemeni authorities failed to reply to Spanish investigators and so the case in Madrid was closed, pending new information.

    Earlier, on Thursday, the day the interview was aired, Brigadier Ammar Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, the nephew of Ali Abdullah Saleh, was dismissed by presidential decree from his role as a military attache in Ethiopia.

    Mujahid had said in the interview that the brigadier had handed him funds for the 2008 US embassy attack.

    President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued a presidential decree on Thursday "calling for the dismissal of Brigadier Ammar Mohammed Abdullah Saleh from his military duties as a military attache in Ethiopia".

    Saleh's nephew was the deputy director of the National Security Bureau at the time of the embassy attack.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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