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Middle East

Yemen blast targets air force bus, six dead

No immediate claim of responsibility in latest attack on military personnel

A bomb has ripped through the side of a bus carrying Yemeni air force personnel to their base in Sana’a, the country’s capital today, killing at least three people and wounding around 23 others, according to official reports.

Witnesses said the device, planted on the military bus, threw passengers’ bodies into the street.

The Yemeni government is battling a number of armed groups, including fighters from al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, known for targeting military personnel.

Most of the attacks up to now have taken place in the largely lawless southern and eastern areas of the country, which borders Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter.

An air force spokesman speaking to Saba, a state news agency, said, “This cowardly terrorist act resulted in the martyrdom of one person and injured a number of others, several of whom are in a serious condition. They have all been transferred to hospital.“

The agency named the dead man as Sergeant Mohammed al-Shaghdari.

Air force officer Ameen Saree, who was among the first to reach the scene, earlier said the blast killed at least six people and wounded 26.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Turmoil has gripped Yemen since pro-democracy protests against former President Ali Abdullah Saleg broke out in early 2011.

Suspected al-Qa'ida militants killed four Yemeni soldiers during an attack on the country's only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in the southern Shabwa province on 11 August.

A suicide bomber dressed in an army uniform killed more than 90 soldiers rehearsing for a parade in the heart of Sana’a in last May.

Earlier this month, authorities said that they had thwarted a plot by al-Qa'ida to seize two major oil and gas export terminals and a city in the east of the country.

The United States and other Western powers shut their diplomatic missions across the Middle East, Africa and Asia after Washington said it had information about unspecified terrorist threats. Many later re-opened.