Al-Qaeda Claims Yemen Attack, Killing 52

Seven foreigners among those killed

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Mohamed al-Sayaghi / Reuters

Soldiers gesture along a road leading to the Defence Ministry's compound as smoke rises after an attack, in Sanaa December 5, 2013.

Updated on Dec. 6 at 2:34 a.m EST.

Al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch al-Mallahem has claimed the Thursday attack on the Defense Ministry complex in the capital of Sanaa, killing 52 and wounding at least 167.

The two-stage strike included a massive suicide car bomb, followed by a fierce gun battle fought by men armed with machine guns, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the Associated Press reports.

Among the dead are seven foreigners — two Filipinos, two Germans, one Indian and two Vietnamese.

The U.S. considers al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch as the most active in the world, and has sharply increased drone strikes against the outfit in recent months.

Following the 2011 ousting of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the terrorist network has gained a major foothold in the south of the country, taking power over several towns and allegedly organizing a May 2012 suicide attack which claimed the lives of 93 soldiers.

This past week, security at the Defense Ministry had been beefed up after a tip that a major attack was imminent.

All militants involved in the firefight outside the ministry were reportedly killed.


The update reflects the fact that al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch has claimed responsibility for the attack.