Al-Qaeda strikes again, killing 26
Most of the victims were soldiers posted at the presidential compound. The suicide car bomber broke through the compound's external gate and proceeded to trigger explosives sitting inside the car.
A woman who happened to be in the vicinity was also killed.
Tentative reports are that the suicide bomber was named Mohammed Al-Suairi, and that he held Saudi nationality. However, Hadramout governor Khalid Al-Daienni said the attacker’s body was torn to pieces in the blast and that his true identify could not yet be determined.
Al-Daienni immediately launched an investigation into the incident. According to eyewitnesses, a pick-up truck with explosives drove directly onto the compound grounds and targeted a large group of soldiers who were eating. The explosion was followed by an exchange of fire as ambulances and security rushed to the scene.
The wounded were carried to Mukalla's Ibn Sina Hospital. Later in the night, they were transported by plane to Sana’a for further treatment.
The attack has been regarded as retaliation against the Yemeni army’s crackdown on the terrorist group. It came just hours after new president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi was sworn in, stating in his address to the nation that fighting Al-Qaeda was something he considered a “religious and national duty.”
President Obama congratulated Hadi on his new post and issued a statement: “I called Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to congratulate him and the Yemeni people as they mark this historic and peaceful transfer of power that honors all the brave Yemenis who have set their country on a path for a more stable, secure, and democratic future. I told President Hadi that the United States will stand with the people of Yemen as they continue their efforts to forge a brighter future for their country.”
The latest strike against Al-Qaeda was on January 30, when US Drones struck a convoy carrying prominent AQAP leaders in Abyan following their attendance of a high-level meeting earlier that day. At least 15 militants were killed.
Since 2010, the United States has reportedly been constructing air force and naval bases on Soqotra Island, 380 kilometers to the southeast of mainland Yemen, with facilities for submarines, intelligence command centers, and take-off pads for stealth drones.
An exchange of fire between Al-Qaeda militants and soldiers from the 111th Armored Division was witnessed in Al-Qaeda-controlled Lawdar District in Abyan on Sunday, February 26.