Tags: yemen | attack | kills | 52 | defense | ministry

Yemen Attack: Suicide Bomb, Gunmen Kill 52 at Defense Ministry

Friday, 06 Dec 2013 07:00 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A suicide car bombing and attack by militant gunmen killed 52 people at the Defense Ministry in Yemen’s capital, and an al-Qaida group has claimed responsibility.

About 165 people were injured in the two-stage attack in Sanaa, which started with the bombing and then became a firefight, The Associated Press said. The Yemen defense minister was in the United States for talks when the attack occurred.

Yemen’s Supreme Security Commission said the dead included seven foreigners, soldiers, and civilians.

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The al-Qaida group al-Mallahem said on its Twitter account that the attack occurred because the Defense Ministry "accommodates drone control rooms and American experts," and added that security headquarters used by the U.S. are "legitimate targets," the AP reported.

The Twitter account was suspended, but Al Jazeera reported the first tweet said, “As part of the policy of targeting the operation rooms of pilotless planes, the mujahideen (holy fighters) have heavily struck one of these rooms in Defence Ministry headquarters.”

A second tweet said, “Such joint military locations, which participate with the Americans in their war against this Muslim nation, are a legitimate target for our operations.”

AP said the United States considers that branch of al-Qaida to be “the most active in the world” and has increased drone attacks in Yemen.

After the attack, Yemen’s security forces searched the capital city looking for the people responsible, Al Jazeera reported. More were killed during those confrontations, including armed gunmen and at least one member of the security forces.

A Filipino spokesman said seven Filipinos were killed and 11 wounded during the attack, Al Jazeera said. There was a hospital inside the complex and the victims, many of whom were doctors and nurses, were there.

That announcement differed from the account of Yemeni officials on the death toll and number of foreigners killed, Al Jazeera said.

Germany announced Friday it would reduce the numbers of embassy staff in the country and recommended that aid workers leave “as quickly as possible,” Al Jazeera said.

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