Al Qaeda claims deadly car bombs at Yemen army base
ADEN // Seven Yemeni soldiers were killed in twin suicide car bomb attacks claimed by Al Qaeda on Tuesday, as fresh violence shook the increasingly unstable country where rival militias are battling for control.
The attacks targeted an army headquarters in Yemen’s south-east, a stronghold of Al Qaeda where two hostages – an American photojournalist and a South African teacher – were killed by the militants during a failed rescue attempt on Saturday.
Yemen has been wracked by months of growing violence after a powerful Shiite militia seized control of the capital.
Military sources said Tuesday’s attacks saw two explosive-laden vehicles detonated at the base in the town of Seiyun in Hadramawt province.
“Seven soldiers were killed and eight others wounded,” one source said, adding that the blasts came shortly after the arrival of a convoy carrying a general, who was unharmed.
Another source said one of the vehicles exploded at the entrance to the headquarters complex while the other managed to make it about 30 metres inside before exploding after hitting an army vehicle.
Ansar Al Sharia, the main arm of Al Qaeda in Yemen, said on Twitter that two of its “martyrs” had carried out the attacks, which it claimed left “dozens of dead and wounded”.
A bomb also exploded in a square in Seiyun near a local government building, residents said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Elsewhere in Hadramawt province, suspected Al Qaeda militants killed two soldiers and wounded a third in an ambush in the town of Shehr late on Monday, a security source said.
Impoverished Yemen has seen rising political and military chaos since the Shiite militia, known as Houthis, swept south from their northern stronghold to capture Sanaa in September, before extending their influence into the centre and west of the country.
The militia, also known as Ansarullah, has been delaying a pullback it agreed to under a UN-brokered accord, while clashing with government forces, local Sunni tribes and Al Qaeda militants.
This has eroded the authority of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi’s government, which has struggled to impose its rule after a year of bloody anti-regime protests forced long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh from office in early 2012.
Authorities are also trying to cope with a longstanding separatist movement in southern areas of the country, where an independent South Yemen existed from the end of British colonial rule in 1967 until union with the north in 1990.
* Agence France-Presse
Published: December 9, 2014 04:00 AM