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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid