|Yemen’s defense minister escapes car bomb|
|SANAA: Yemen’s defense minister escaped an assassination attempt yesterday but at least 12 people died in the car bombing that followed the killing of Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command in the country, government officials said.|
Witnesses said the blast happened as Maj. Gen. Muhammad Nasir Ahmad’s motorcade left the prime minister’s office in Sanaa after a cabinet meeting. Interior Minister Abdul Qader Qahtan told state television that seven security guards and five civilians were killed and 12 other people were wounded.
One vehicle carrying security personnel was destroyed but the minister, who was traveling in a different armored-plated car, survived. Aides said he was unhurt and had told Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa he was safe.
“A booby-trapped car waited for the motorcade of the minister near the government offices and as soon as it moved, it exploded,” a security source told Reuters. “A security car was totally destroyed and all its occupants were killed, but the minister survived because his car is armored.”
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which followed the killing of the deputy leader of the Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda, Said Al-Shehri, in an attack last week. Al Qaeda blames the minister for leading a campaign that drove it from strongholds in southern Yemen, an area that has become of increasing concern to the United States in its campaign against Islamist militants.
Yemen claimed a major victory in its battle with Al-Qaeda this week with the death of Shehri, although public anger about US drone attacks remains strong because of civilian deaths.
Shehri was wanted by Yemeni, Saudi and US authorities over his role in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). A former inmate of the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Shehri was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007, but after time on a Saudi militant rehabilitation program he escaped to Yemen and possibly had a role in a 2008 attack on the US embassy.
Last year Yemen claimed it had killed him, only for it to emerge Shehri was still at large.
And now he's most sincerely dead...
|Yemen says kills deputy regional head of al Qaeda|
|() - Yemeni armed forces have killed Said al-Shehri, a Saudi national seen as the second-in-command of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a government website said on Monday.|
"al-Shehri... al-Shehri"... Hmmm... I've heard that name before...
48 hour rule definitely applies to a Yemeni government website, unless they're showing a pic of the severed head...
The Ministry of Defense website said Shehri was killed on Monday, along with six other s, in what it called a "qualitative operation" by the army in the remote province in eastern Yemen. It gave no further details.
AQAP, which has planned attacks on international targets including airliners, is described by Washington, which has used unmanned drones to target its members, as the most dangerous wing of al Qaeda.
There were conflicting reports on how Shehri, a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay, was killed. Yemen has previously announced Shehri's death only for it to emerge that he is still alive.
A Yemeni security source said Shehri was killed in an operation last Wednesday in the Hadramout which was thought to have been carried out by a U.S. drone, rather than the Yemeni military. The source said another Saudi and an Iraqi national were among the others killed.
Residents of the Wadi al-Ain district where the attack took place last Wednesday said they believed from their contacts with Islamist fighters in the area that Shehri had died then, when missiles struck a house where they were meeting.
"There was a group of people from the group who were holding a meeting - Shehri was one of them and there were foreigners there too," said Elwi Suleiman. Ansar al-Sharia is one of a number of Yemeni groups linked to al Qaeda.
There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy in the accounts.
Shehri was released from the U.S. detention facility to in 2007 and put through a Saudi rehabilitation program for s. He is wanted by Yemeni authorities for a suspected role in a U.S. embassy attack in 2008.