Yemeni soldiers guard the US Embassy coumpound in Sanaa
Yemeni soldiers guard the US Embassy compound in Sanaa. Khaled Fazaa/AFP/Getty Images

A terrorist group linked to al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for launching a rocket attack on the US embassy in Yemen in retaliation for drone strikes.

The rocket landed 200 metres away from the heavily fortified embassy, wounding two Yemeni police officers who guard the site.

The weapon was fired from a car using an M72 light anti-tank weapon, a police source told Reuters.

After the strike, the attackers sped off.

Ansar al-Sharia, an affiliate of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, claimed responsibility for the attack shortly afterwards on Twitter. It claimed that it was acting in revenge for a US drone strike in the northern al Jawf province on Friday, where it said two children were seriously injured.

In recent years, the US has conducted a series of drone strikes in Yemen and other countries where Islamist militants are believed to be based.

Tribal sources confirmed that Friday's attack had killed two al-Qaida members, wounded two others, and there were reports of children having been wounded.

Yemen's capital, Sanaa, is currently in turmoil after Shia rebels seized control of swaths of the city last week.

A power sharing agreement was reached, but rebels yesterday attacked the home of Yemen's intelligence chief, in a sign of the fragility of the accord.

Last week, the US urged all of its citizens to leave Yemen and pulled out most of its embassy staff, following the increased unrest, which has prompted fears of civil war.

The US State Department claims that it did not know that the embassy had been the target of the rocket attack, and that no embassy staff had been wounded.