الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

Blast kills dozens in Yemen capital



A police investigator looks at a damaged ca

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Nasser Arrabyee, a journalist in Yemen, describes the scene in Sanaa

At least 33 people have been killed and 62 others injured by a car bomb blast outside a police academy in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, officials say.

The vehicle exploded beside dozens of cadets and people standing in line to enrol at the academy. Some unconfirmed reports said it was a suicide attack.

Afterwards, body parts and debris from the car were strewn across the street.

There has so far been no claim of responsibility, but an offshoot of al-Qaeda has carried out similar attacks.

Yemen has experienced a wave of violence in recent months, with militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) battling Shia Houthi rebels who have taken control of the capital.

‘Catastrophic situation’

Wednesday’s bombing took place early in the morning in a central part of Sanaa near the central bank and the defence ministry building.

A policeman holds up the photo of one of the victims of the bomb attack in Sanaa (7 January 2015)Police found photographs of victims who had been hoping to enrol at the police academy

People inspect wreckage of car destroyed by bomb blast in Sanaa, Yemen (7 January 2015)No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, although al-Qaeda has carried out similar attacks

A medic with blood on his clothes stands at the scene of a car bombing in Sanaa, Yemen (7 January 2015)Yemen has been plagued by instability since the start of anti-government protests in 2011

The explosion was heard across the city and a large plume of smoke was seen rising from the scene.

The victims included many cadets at the police academy and people who had been waiting in line to enrol, as well as passersby, officials said.

“We were all gathering and… [the car] exploded right next to all of the police college classmates,” Jamil al-Khaleedi told the Associated Press.

“It went off among all of them.”

A paramedic at the scene described the situation as “catastrophic”.

“We arrived to find bodies piled on top of each other,” he told Reuters news agency.

The US embassy in Yemen condemned the attack, saying it “reveals the nihilistic vision and depravity of terror groups operating in Yemen”.

Weak government

Yemeni security forces personnel have been targeted many times by AQAP in the past four years. A suicide bomber killed more than 90 people in 2012 at a military parade in the capital and an assault on a military hospital a year ago left more than 50 dead.

The jihadist group has exploited the chaos and instability that has resulted from the uprising that forced longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in 2011.

Map of Yemen showing Saada, Sanaa and Ibb

His successor, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, has ordered a series of military offensives on AQAP strongholds, but its members have been able to withdraw to remote, mountainous regions where they are protected by local tribes wary of the government.

President Hadi has also been weakened by the Houthi rebels from the northern province of Saada, who triggered a political crisis in September when they overran security forces in the capital and forced him to form technocratic government and reverse unpopular subsidy cuts.

The rebels were supposed to withdraw from Sanaa, but they have instead expanded their presence in central and western Yemen, triggering fierce clashes with AQAP and Sunni tribesmen.

Last week, a suicide bomb attack on Houthi supporters in Ibb left as many as 49 people dead.

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