Al-Qaeda claims bombing that killed nearly 100 Yemeni soldiers

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the blast in Sana’a which according to witnesses was heard across the city, causing panic among residents. (Reuters)

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) stepped up its war against the Yemeni forces when it carried out a suicide bombing attack on a military parade in the capital Sana’a on Monday , killing almost 100 and wounding about 300 others.

Al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar al-Sharia group issued a statement saying claiming the responsibility for the attack and threatening for more if the Yemeni army does not halt an operation against the terrorist group in the south of the country.

The deadly explosion took place at al-Sabeen square, near the presidential palace, during the rehearsal of parade marking Yemen’s national day, which President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi was due to attend.

The bomber, dressed in military uniform, detonated his explosives in the middle of battalion of soldiers .Witnesses said human remains were scattered across the site of the blast.

Yemen’s defense minister, Mohammed Nasser Ahmed, was present at the time of the explosion but escaped unharmed.
It remains unclear if the parade will take place as planned.

Monday’s attack is most deadly since President Hadi took power in February with a pledge to fight al-Qaeda’s growing presence in the county.

The suicide bombing came10 days into a massive army offensive against al-Qaeda in Yemen’s restive southern Abyan province, where the jihadists have seized control of a string of towns and cities in attacks launched since May last year.

Since the offensive began, 213 people have been killed, according to a tally compiled by AFP, including 147 al-Qaeda fighters, 31 military personnel, 18 local militiamen and 17 civilians.

The offensive followed days after the White House announced that a plot by AQAP to blow up a U.S. airliner had been foiled.

A senior U.S. official told the New York Times that a bomb for the would-be attack was sewn into “custom fit” underwear that would have been difficult to detect even in a careful pat-down at an airport.

It said a double agent spent weeks with AQAP before handing over information allowing the United States to launch a drone strike on May 6 that killed Fahd al-Quso, a senior figure wanted for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

Quso’s name figured on an FBI list of most wanted terrorists, along with a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest.

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