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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs