52 slain in Yemen capital attack
Security forces are on the scene after an explosion at the Defense Ministry complex in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday. A suicide car bomber struck Yemen's Defense Ministry Thursday, killing more than a dozen soldiers and paving the way for a carload of gunmen wearing army uniforms to storm the heavily guarded compound in the capital of Sanaa, military and hospital officials said. AP photo
SANAA, Yemen — More than 50 people were killed in a deadly attack in the Yemeni capital Thursday when militants penetrated the headquarters of the nation’s Ministry of Defense in a two-stage assault that began shortly after the start of the workday.
Security officials said the attack began about 9 a.m. when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at one of the ministry’s entrances. A second vehicle broke into the ministry’s perimeter, disgorging gunmen wearing military uniforms who opened fire, engaging soldiers stationed inside.
The gunmen also attacked staff and patients at a medical clinic inside the ministry compound that is popular with Yemen’s elite.
The death toll included a prominent judge taking part in Yemen’s ongoing Conference of National Dialogue, a government-sponsored effort at settling political differences, and a cousin of Yemen’s president, who was killed as he was visiting a patient at the clinic.
No organization immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Suspicion fell, however, on al-Qaida’s local franchise, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, with analysts pointing out that the two-stage assault was similar to a 2008 attack on the U.S. Embassy here, when al-Qaida militants used similar tactics.