Four foreign tourists thought to be South Korean were killed by an explosion in the town of Shibam in south-east Yemen today, local authorities in Hadramawt province said. "Preliminary information indicates there may have been a suicide attack, but this has not yet been confirmed," said one official. Shibam is a Unesco world heritage site and dubbed the "Manhattan of the Desert" because of its high-rise mud-brick buildings.
In January 2008 two Belgian tourists were shot dead along with their local guide and driver in Hadramawt, in the east of the Arabian Peninsula country. A car-bomb attack in Marib, east of Sanaa, in July 2007 killed eight Spanish holidaymakers and two Yemeni drivers. That attack took place at the entrance to Mahram Bilqis, an ancient oval-shaped temple which legend says belonged to the Biblical Queen of Sheba.
Few tourists visit Yemen, which also has a history of abductions of Westerners by powerful tribes who then use them as bargaining chips with the authorities. Those kidnapped are generally freed unharmed. * AFP