13 killed in Yemen as minister's car bombed


Yemen's defence minister escaped an assassination attempt yesterday but at least 13 people died in the car bombing.

Witnesses said the blast happened as Major General Muhammad Nasir Ahmad's motorcade left the prime minister's office in Sanaa after a cabinet meeting. One vehicle carrying security personnel was destroyed but the minister, who was travelling in a different armoured car, survived.

"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 said.

Al-Qa'ida 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.

Yemen claimed a major victory this week with the death of Said al-Shehri, al-Qa'ida's second-in-command in the country, although public anger about US drone attacks remains strong because of civilian deaths.