Suicide bomber kills 10 police cadets in Yemen, Al Qaeda blamed
A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vest at the gates of a police academy in Yemen's capital, Sana, on Wednesday, killing 10 in the crowd of cadets headed out on weekend furloughs, the Yemeni Embassy in Washington announced.
In a statement condemning the "inhumane killings," Charge D'Affaires Adel Suneini blamed the attack on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which security analysts now consider the most dangerous vestige of the terror network founded by the late Osama bin Laden.
The bomber, identified in a Yemeni Interior Ministry statement as Mohamed Nasher al-Uthy from Amran province, survived the detonation that blew off the lower part of his body but bled to death after being taken to a nearby hospital.
Nineteen other cadets and police officers were injured in the attack, four of them critically, the embassy statement said.
Yemeni government and security institutions have become frequent targets of Islamic militants who gained control of key coastal territory last year during an uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The former leader left the country earlier this year under a negotiated transition that in February brought to power President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has been cooperating with the United States and other Western forces to eradicate the terrorists' foothold in Yemen.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been linked to the attempted bombing of a U.S. jetliner on Christmas Day 2009 and with plots to attack the U.S. Embassy in Sana.
Officials in Sana and Washington announced last month that Yemeni forces had recovered two strategic southern towns after weeks of fierce battles the officials claimed had "broken the strength of Al Qaeda." The recapture of the coastal town of Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province, and Jaar appeared to lessen the threat of the militants attacking vital shipping lanes from the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea.
From the embassy in Washington, Suneini denounced the attack on the cadets in a cable to Yemen's president.
"Al Qaeda today is not only facing the military and security services but also the fury of the Yemeni public," the diplomat said in an apparent reference to the new leadership's commitment to wipe out the remnants of the insurgency.
-- Carol J. Williams in Los Angeles
Photo: Yemeni forensic policemen and soldiers at the site of a suicide bombing at a police academy in Sana on Wednesday. At least 10 in a crowd of departing cadets were killed and 19 wounded, the government reported. Credit: Yahya Arhab / European Pressphoto Agency.