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 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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs