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SANAA, Yemen -- Security officials and residents of Yemen's capital say that a large explosion followed by heavy gunfire have been heard near the U.S. Embassy.

They did not know how close the blast late Monday was to the embassy.

The officials spoke anonymously as they were not allowed to talk to media.

Yemen is fighting a war against al-Qaida's local branch, considered by Washington to be one of the world's most dangerous offshoots of the terror network.