Yemen foils bombing bid after blasts kill 65

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 20, 2013 16:00 hrs

Aden (Yemen): Yemeni armed forces Friday foiled an Al Qaida attempt to detonate an explosives-laden car at a gas terminal in the southern province of Shabwa after three attacks earlier in the day killed 65 people, the defence ministry said.

The armed forces killed all the terrorists who were driving the car toward the Belhaf gas terminal in Shabwa province, the ministry said in a brief text message obtained by Xinhua.

A military source confirmed the incident to Xinhua, saying: "The terrorists ignored an army checkpoint and ran away. The soldiers opened fire on their vehicle, triggering a huge blast that killed all militants on board."

Earlier Friday, three explosives-rigged cars went off at a military site and a police headquarter in Azzan of the same province, killing at least 65 soldiers and wounding dozens of others at the scene, a local government source said.

"At least 65 army and security soldiers died and 38 others were wounded in three simultaneous car bombing attacks that targeted the police station headquarters and army-held sites in Azzan area in Shabwa," a provincial security official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

A police officer said the deadliest of Friday's attacks took place when an Al Qaida suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into the army-held site in Azzan near an oil pipeline.

Medical officials in a nearby military hospital confirmed the casualty figures to Xinhua.

A witness told Xinhua that he "saw a number of charred bodies near the police centre and the bodies of five high-ranking army officers brought out of it".

"The bombs struck an army base and huge clouds of black smoke billowed into the air," the witness added.

An official in the security operations room in Shabwa told Xinhua that the troops killed in the army barracks were responsible for securing and protecting a nearby oil installation in the southern edge of the province.

After the blasts, Yemeni military warplanes carried out an attack on two hideouts of the Al Qaida in Shabwa, killing three terrorists and injuring seven others.

The two hideouts in the Azzan region in Shabwa were hit by the military warplanes, leaving at least three terrorists dead and seven others wounded, an army officer told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, Xinhua reported, though an earlier report stated that the Al Qaida had claimed responsibility.

However, the Al Qaida is being held responsible for a series of similar attacks against Yemeni government forces, mostly in the country's southern region.

The Yemen-based Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which emerged in January 2009, is considered to be the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and its neighbouring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

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