updated 4/30/2008 2:27:40 AM ET 2008-04-30T06:27:40

An explosion went off Wednesday near the Italian embassy in Yemen's capital, but the apparent attack caused no injuries, a security official said.

The embassy in central San'a is next to a government building and the headquarters of the opposition Socialist party and it was not immediately clear what the target was. The explosion was caused either by a hand grenade or a bomb, the security official said.

Security forces sealed off roads leading to the area of the explosion, said the official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to the media.

Key U.S. ally
Yemen is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East but also the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden and it has been the site of violence against foreigners before.

Earlier this month, three projectiles hit a foreigners' housing complex in San'a but caused no injuries. The complex is in an upscale neighborhood that also houses U.N. buildings.

On March 20, three mortars missed the American Embassy and crashed into a high school for girls nearby, killing a security guard.

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