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Yemen jails two for trying to kill US envoy

Written by: Staff
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SANAA, Mar 5 (Reuters) A Yemeni court sentenced two men to five years in jail today for trying to kill the former US ambassador to the Arab country with a hand grenade in 2004.

Houzam al-Maas and Khalid al-Halilah, who had faced a maximum jail term of 10 years for trying to throw a hand grenade at the envoy as he was entering a shop, can appeal their sentence, their lawyers said.

Maas had pleaded guilty to attempting to kill the ambassador, but told the state security court he was psychologically ill.

Halilah, a taxi driver, had pleaded not guilty, saying he only drove Maas to a weapons market.

Yemen, the ancestral home of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, has joined the US-led war on terrorism since the September 11 attacks.

It has cracked down on al Qaeda-linked militants following attacks at home including the 2000 USS Cole bombing and the 2002 attack on the French supertanker Limburg.

REUTERS PG RS1405

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