News / Middle East

Al-Qaida Says Yemen Suicide Bombing Was 'Revenge'

Forensic policemen inspect the site of a suicide bomb attack at a parade square in Sanaa, Yemen, May 21, 2012. Forensic policemen inspect the site of a suicide bomb attack at a parade square in Sanaa, Yemen, May 21, 2012.
x
Forensic policemen inspect the site of a suicide bomb attack at a parade square in Sanaa, Yemen, May 21, 2012.
Forensic policemen inspect the site of a suicide bomb attack at a parade square in Sanaa, Yemen, May 21, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
Al-Qaida says a suicide bomber's attack in Yemen that killed at least 96 troops and wounded more than 200 on Monday was revenge for what it called a U.S.-backed war on its followers.

Yemeni officials say a suspected rogue soldier detonated the explosives as hundreds of fellow troops were lining up for a military parade rehearsal in the capital, Sana'a.  The soldiers were preparing for a parade on Tuesday to mark the unification of Yemen's north and south.

Al-Qaida's Yemen-based affiliate said the attack was aimed at top Yemeni commanders.  It came during a U.S.-backed Yemeni government offensive against militants who seized southern regions last year, as the country was engulfed in an uprising against then-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Watch related video of suicide bomber's attack
Related video of Yemen suicide bombingi
|| 0:00:00
X
May 21, 2012 2:59 PM
Yemeni officials say a suicide bomber killed at least 96 people when he blew himself up in the middle of a group of soldiers practicing for a military parade.
The U.S. condemned Monday's "cowardly" and "despicable" suicide bombing and offered President Barack Obama's condolences. Counter-terrorism chief John Brennan said he had spoken to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who "pledged not to let terrorist acts interfere with Yemen's peaceful political transition."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned Monday's bombing, saying perpetrators of the terrorist attack must be held accountable. He called on all people in Yemen to reject the use of violence and fully implement the political transition agreement that saw Saleh step down earlier this year after 33 years of autocratic rule.

Yemen's defense minister and chief of staff both were at the Sana'a rehearsal but were unharmed.  Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula said the defense minister was a target of the bombing, and warned of more attacks if the government offensive does not stop.

Hadi, who succeeded Saleh in February, responded to the bombing by dismissing two senior Yemeni military commanders who were allies of his predecessor.  He has promised to restructure the military and purge it of Saleh relatives and loyalists suspected of blocking reforms.  

Al-Qaida Threat

The Yemeni leader has also vowed to fight the growth of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist network's regional affiliate.

Economist Intelligence Unit Middle East analyst Robert Powell told VOA that al-Qaida has been trying to organize itself in Sana'a for a long time, but its activities have usually been disrupted.

He said the symbolism and substantial casualties from the attack on the military parade rehearsal indicate that al-Qaida has a greater reach inside Yemen than previously known.

Stephen Steinbeiser, who heads the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, says the blast struck close to the nerve center of power in the country.

"I'm hearing it was a bomber who was dressed like a soldier, and who was basically able to infiltrate the central security forces whose job it is to fight al-Qaida, and they did this in the heart of the capital at the main parade grounds while the minister of defense was observing, right next to the presidential compound," Steinbeiser said. "This sends a very, very strong message."

In a recent video message, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had urged Yemenis to fight their new president, whom he called a “U.S. agent.”

Analyst Steinbeiser says the Yemeni government appears to have made major inroads against al-Qaida in recent days, but that this kind of war is “very difficult to assess in traditional terms.” Many Yemenis oppose al-Qaida, he said, but months of economic and political turmoil “make it easier to recruit for their militant, extremist ideology.”

Michael Lipin in Washington contributed to this report.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid