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Blast reported near U.S. Embassy in Yemen

| Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

ADEN, Yemen — Yemeni security officials said an explosion followed by what sounded like heavy gunfire was heard late Monday near the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Sanaa, but government spokesmen later said the sound was fireworks from a wedding procession.

The State Department issued a statement saying it had no indication that reports of an attack on or near the embassy were accurate.

The reports were made amid what appeared to be a security alert in the capital, where the local branch of al-Qaida periodically stages high-profile attacks. Extra security troops could be seen deployed since Sunday, and motorcycles were absent from main streets. They were banned during past alerts to prevent them from being used to carry bombs.

Two security officials in Yemen said by phone that the blast occurred near the embassy, followed by the sounds of gunfire. One said troops sealed off the area. They spoke anonymously as they were not authorized to talk to media.

But Mohammed al-Mawri, an official at the Yemeni Interior Minister's office, said the blast was fireworks from a wedding procession. A Yemeni Embassy spokesman in Washington, Mohammed Albasha, gave the same account.

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