Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula killed 26 Yemenis, including 20 soldiers, in a suicide attack on the presidential palace in the city of Mukalla, the provincial capital of Hadramout. From Reuters:
A car was driven at the gates of the building in the port city of Mukalla, Yemen’s fourth-largest city, far from the capital Sanaa where Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was sworn in.
Dozens were injured. The governor of Hadramout province Khalid Saeed al-Dayni said 20 of the dead were soldiers and an investigation was under way to identify the suicide bomber.
Al Qaeda claimed responsibility and said the attack had been carried out by a “Yemeni jihadi,” according to text messages sent to Reuters and other media outlets.
“The attack is a retaliation of the continued crimes of the Republican Guards,” AQAP said, according to The Yemen Post.
Today’s attack is one of the largest suicide bombings by AQAP in Yemen in some time. AQAP carried out the attack just hours after newly elected President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was sworn in and vowed to battle al Qaeda. “Continuing the war against al Qaeda is a national and religious duty,” he said, according to Reuters.
AQAP has focused much of its efforts in waging an insurgency, and continues to control vast areas of southern Yemen, including Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan province, and several other cities and towns. The Yemeni security services are still largely under the control of the family of former President Ali Saleh, who has supported Islamist terrorists, including al Qaeda, in the past.