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

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora