'Al-Qa'ida attack' on army parade kills 96

 

Nearly 100 soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber targeted a military parade in Yemen yesterday in revenge for a recent offensive to root out al-Qa'ida militants.

Thousands of soldiers ran for cover after a man in army uniform detonated a belt packed with explosives at al-Sabin Square in the capital, Sana'a, killing 96 people and injuring more than 200. "This is a real massacre," said Ahmed Sobhi, a soldier at the scene. "There are piles of torn body parts, limbs and heads."

Most casualties were members of the Central Security Organisation commanded by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's nephew, Yahya Saleh, who was sacked after the bombing. The paramilitary force has led a 10-day day offensive against al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its affiliates in the southern province of Abyan, killing about 150 insurgents,

The blast came during rehearsals for a parade to mark today's anniversary of the union of North and South Yemen in 1990. The AQAP offshoot Ansar al-Sharia, which claimed responsibility, said it was a response to the "crimes" of security forces trying to dislodge militants.

"Al-Qa'ida is under huge pressure and losing ground in the south," said Mustafa Alani, a regional security analyst with the Gulf Research Centre. "They've taken a big hit and lost hundreds of their fighters and it was expected that they would carry out some kind of revenge attack."

The bomb tore through the crowd just before the Defence Minister, Major-General Mohammed Nasser Ahmed, was due to greet the troops. Senior officials escaped unscathed.

The attack ramps up pressure on President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was elected in February when Mr Saleh agreed to hand over power after protests against his rule.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Communications Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 6-month part-time contract (24 hours a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Broker

£12000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Vehicle Broker is req...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Data Capture / Telesales

£12000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific