News / Middle East

    Yemen: Suicide Car Bomb, Assault Kill 52

    • Smoke raises after an explosion at the Defense Ministry complex in Sana'a, Dec. 5, 2013.
    • A soldier mans a machine gun along a road leading to the Defense Ministry compound after an attack in Sana'a, Dec. 5, 2013.
    • This photo provided by Yemen's Defense Ministry shows damaged vehicles after an explosion at the Defense Ministry complex in Sana'a, Dec. 5, 2013.
    • This photo provided by Yemen's Defense Ministry shows a crater and damaged vehicles after an explosion at the Defense Ministry complex in Sana'a, Dec. 5, 2013.
    • Smoke raises from the Defense Ministry compound after an attack in Sana'a, Dec. 5, 2013.
    • Security personnel gather as firefighting trucks drive to the Defense Ministry compound after an attack in Sana'a, Dec. 5, 2013.
    Gunmen, Suicide Bomber Attack Yemeni Defense Ministry
    Edward Yeranian
    A suicide bomber and gunmen attacked the heavily guarded defense ministry compound in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, killing 52 people.

    Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula

    • Formed by a 2009 merger of al-Qaida's Yemen and Saudi branches
    • Plotted unsuccessful underwear bomb plot on Christmas Day 2009
    • Planned foiled plot to send mail bombs hidden in toner cartridges to the US in 2010
    • Established sanctuaries in Yemen, overrunning entire towns and villages
    • Led by Nasir al-Wahishi, former assistant to Osama bin Laden
    Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsbility for the attack. A statement issued on Twitter Friday by the group's media arm said it attacked the Defense Ministry building complex in the capital Sana'a because it "accommodates drone control rooms and American experts."

    According to an official government statement, 167 people were wounded in the attack.

    Ambulances and rescue vehicles rushed to the scene of the attack at the defense ministry, as soldiers inside the compound battled attackers for several hours. Most of the casualties occurred at the ministry's hospital where doctors and nurses reportedly were killed.

    Yemeni state TV showed images of dead gunmen. Witnesses said grenades and automatic weapons were used by the assailants.

    One soldier said he and his colleagues heard the bomb explosion and saw militants break into the compound and attack people.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    The daylight assault on the fortified defense ministry compound took place as Yemen's defense minister was visiting Washington to discuss defense cooperation. A ministry spokesman said most of the attackers were killed.

    Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was shown on state television visiting the defense ministry compound, thanking soldiers for their courage.

    The attack was just the latest in a series of violent incidents inside and outside the capital. Sporadic fighting in the north of the country between Houthi rebels and hardline Islamists, known as Salafis, continues intermittently.

    Stephen Steinbeiser of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies said that much of the recent violence appears aimed at disrupting the national dialogue talks aimed at reaching a political settlement to months of protracted conflict.

    "This has been quite a violent couple of weeks and it seems all directed towards fostering the sectarian conflict and disrupting the political process," said Steinbeiser. "Only three days ago they announced a new security plan for the capital, which included not allowing motorcycles on the streets in the central part of the capital, so someone is trying to send a message, obviously, and I think the message is basically 'it doesn't matter what kind of security plan you have in place, it doesn't matter what kind of negotiated political transition you have, we're going to disrupt it.'"

    Steinbeiser said the dialogue sessions were due to have reached a negotiated settlement by September, but he said that talks have broken down frequently and also have been hampered by a boycott by politicians from the south of the country.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora