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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More