An Al Qaeda affiliate has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing attack that killed at least 90 soldiers and injured hundreds in Yemen's capital city, on the eve of the nation's unification holiday.
A suicide bomber, dressed in a military uniform, detonated his explosives strapped under his uniform and blew himself up amidst a battalion of soldiers in Sana'a, capital of Yemen, killing at least 90 soldiers. The soldiers were rehearsing for an army parade to be held during the 22nd anniversary of the Unification Day (South and North Yemen merged on May 22, 1990) in Sana’a's Sabeen Square.
"The suicide bomber was dressed in a military uniform. He had a belt of explosives underneath," said a man who identified himself as Colonel Amin al-Alghabati, his hands and uniform flecked with blood, reported Reuters.
The Sabeen square is located near Presidential Palace and the explosion took place just minutes before the Defence Minister of Yemen, Mohammed Nasser Ahmed, and few other high-level military officials arrived to inspect the troops, told Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman for the Yemeni embassy in the America. They were present at the time of the explosion but managed to escape unscathed.
"We had just finished the parade. We were saluting our commander when a huge explosion went off. It was a gruesome attack. Many soldiers were killed and others had their arms and legs blown off", said soldier Amr Habib, reported Reuters.
Al-Qaeda affiliate, Ansar al-Sharia, claimed responsibility for the attack saying the bombing was retaliation for the Yemeni army's attacks and U.S. drone strikes in the southern part of the country, reported ABC News. The spokesperson also said that they want to send a message to the Americans and the “tools of the Americans” who targeted “mujahideen (holy warriors)”.
Survivors witnessed not only the explosion but also the bloody aftermath, with body parts of the victims blown apart and strewn in the square. Felt berets worn by the soldiers were scattered among the carnage.
TV cameras captured the moment of the attack.