Korean Officials Attacked in Yemen but Unharmed
By Lee Tae-hoon
A group of South Korean government officials and family members of victims killed in Sunday's suicide bombing in Yemen were attacked by a terrorist group Wednesday but no one was hurt, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.
A suicide bomber set off explosives near a convoy carrying the Koreans, the Associated Press said.
``The bomber walked into the road between two of the vehicles and blew himself up as the convoy was traveling to the airport outside the capital, Sana,'' a Yemini security official said on condition of anonymity, according to AP. The front window of a car was shattered.
The attack was carried out at around 2:40 p.m. (KST), a few hours after the Korean government instructed the beefing up of security for its nationals and facilities abroad. Al-Qaida has repeatedly called for attacks on non-Muslim foreigners on the Arabian Peninsula, according to reports.
The government, however, said that it was too early to conclude whether the bomber believed that the convoy was carrying top Yemeni government officials or deliberately targeted Koreans.
The government decided to reactivate channels to share terror-related information with countries highly exposed to terrorist attacks, including those in the Middle East, the ministry said.
Also among the anti-terrorism measures are strengthening cooperation with other governments, launching a large-scale awareness campaign on terrorist threats and closing any loopholes in the existing travel warning system.
The bodies of the four South Korean tourists, two women and two men, killed in the earlier suicide bombing, will arrive in Seoul today, ministry officials said.
The families of the four will likely receive $70,520 from Dongbu Fire and Marine Insurance as it agreed to pay the maximum amount covered by the travel insurance that the deceased tourists purchased.
The government, however, has yet to discuss ways to financially support the bereaved families.
All the expenses have so far been covered by the travel agency that organized the trip. But it has only six employees and lacks the means to compensate the victims' families, said Han Kwon-hyun, an executive of the agency.
The government provides security information on countries through its Web site www.0404.go.kr, now under criticism for not actively alerting travelers to danger.
The ministry belatedly designated all of Yemen as a ``travel restriction region'' Monday and may consider banning Koreans from traveling there if the latest bombing was found to have carried out intentionally against Korean nationals.
Yemeni authorities notified the government Tuesday that al-Qaida was responsible for Sunday's bomb attack.