Suitcase explodes in street, killing 1 civilian
SANA’A — A suitcase bomb exploded in the early hours of Sunday, killing one civilian in the Souq Al-Wahda region of Sana’a. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though the bombing follows a number of attacks thought to have been carried out by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
According to eyewitnesses, Saddam Abdullah Al-Hubaishi was parked across the street when he approached the suitcase, which was fastened to a pillar in a street median on Heziaz Street. Witnesses said the bomb went off when Al-Hubaishi tried to lift and examine the bag.
A slightly damaged pillar, crushed concrete where the suitcase once sat and a bloodstained street sprinkled with sand are the only hints of yesterday’s attack.
“I was across the street when I heard a loud explosion,” Abdulgawie Saleh, who owns a shop across the street from the scene, said. “The bomb threw him back several feet. He was missing an arm and his head.”
Al-Hubaishi’s father and his three brothers witnessed the attack, according to several people who were there when the bomb exploded. The family, who owns a small window installation shop, was preparing to head home at around 12:30 a.m. when the youngest of the four brothers, age 13, spotted the suitcase. Al-Hubaishi’s father prohibited the teenager from approaching; Abdullah Al-Hubaishi approached instead.
According to a family friend who witnessed the suitcase explode, Al-Hubaishi is married with three children—two boys and a young girl.
According to a source at the Defense Ministry who is not authorized to speak with the press, the bombing is said to have been intended for Republican Guard troops, who pass through the main street of the suq on a regular basis while commuting to the Al-Soal military camp—the city’s Republican Guard camp. Such a target would be keeping in line with AQAP’s recent pattern of targets, which have focused on military and security forces, not civilians.
The most recent attack, a bombing at the police academy in Sana’a on July 11, left 9 cadets dead and 15 injured. This is the sixth such bombing targeting military and security personnel in the past two months. As Yemeni forces push AQAP out of southern cities once firmly in the militant group and their affiliate—Ansar Al-Sharia’s—control, Yemen’s capital city has witnessed increased violence.
The deadliest of these attacks was the Al-Sabeen bombing in Sana’a on May 21, which left 96 soldiers dead and more than 300 wounded. The suicide bomber struck a military parade rehearsal for the National Unification Day celebration, marking 22 years since the unification of North and South Yemen.