45 killed as suicide bomb explodes at Yemeni wake
A SUICIDE bomber struck at a wake in Yemen’s southern city of Jaar in the early hours of yesterday, killing at least 45 people and wounding dozens more, the defence ministry said, in the deadliest attack since the army declared victory over Islamist militants in June.
The bomber appeared to have been targeting the head of a group of tribal fighters that sided with the Yemeni army during an offensive that drove al-Qaeda-linked militants from their strongholds in the southern province of Abyan.
“This is a cowardly, criminal, terrorist attack,” said Abyan governor Jamal al-Aqel.
The attack highlighted the enduring threat of Islamist militancy in Yemen and may alarm those states that increasingly view the impoverished state as a frontline in their war on al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
A local official said charred bodies were strewn around the site of the blast in which Abdul Latif Al Sayed, the leader of tribal fighting units known as “Popular Committees”, was injured and taken to hospital.
Two of his brothers were killed in the explosion. Further east, in the province of Hadramout, a US drone fired on a vehicle ferrying suspected militants, killing its three passengers, a local official said.
Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law) seized several towns in Abyan last year, establishing a foothold there while then-president Ali Abdullah Saleh was grappling with the mass protests that eventually toppled him.
The United States supported the Yemeni military campaign through which the army regained control of territory it had lost, but residents and analysts say the militants are simply lying low and waiting for a chance to regroup.
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