45 dead in south Yemen suicide attack
ADEN: A suicide bombing in south Yemen blamed on Al-Qaeda killed 45 people, local officials said yesterday, as residents voiced fears that a lack of security personnel on the ground will allow the militants to return. In the east of the country, meanwhile, a suspected US drone strike late on Saturday killed five Al-Qaeda militants, a local official said.
The bomber struck on Saturday in Jaar, one of a string of towns in Abyan province that were retaken by government troops in June after being held by Al-Qaeda loyalists for more than a year.
“An Al-Qaeda suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt during a mourning ceremony organized by the Popular Resistance Committees,” a local militia that fought alongside the army, said provincial governor Jamal Aqal.
“Bodies were flying in all directions because the explosion was so powerful,” a witness said.
An official at Razi hospital in Jaar said it received the bodies of 24 of those killed, while medics said 12 people had died of their wounds in three hospitals in the main southern city Aden. Relatives took the bodies of six of the dead directly from the scene of the attack for burial, local official Mohsen bin Jamila told AFP.
Later yesterday, Jamila told AFP that “three of the wounded have succumbed to their wounds,” raising the overall death toll to 45.
The wounded were being treated in hospitals in Jaar and Aden. The deputy head of Jaar's municipal authority held the government at least partially responsible for the attack because of its slowness in deploying police to the town after its recapture by the army. “There is no presence of police in Jaar and other towns of Abyan, while Al-Qaeda militants remain underground,” said Nasser Abdullah Mansari.
Security forces sealed off the scene of the strike, witnesses said.
Posted by: Steve White