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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid