Suicide bomber kills 20 police cadets in Yemeni capital

A suicide bomber killed at least 20 people in an attack at a police academy in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. The attack is the latest suicide bombing to target Yemeni security forces.

The attack took place at the Police College in Sana’a, The Yemen Post reported. The suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the middle of a group of cadets as they left the academy after classes ended, according to the BBC. More than 20 people were killed and dozens were wounded in the blast, according to reports.

While no group has claimed credit for the attack, al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula and its political front, Ansar al Sharia, likely executed the attack. In mid-June, AQAP vowed to continue fighting the Yemeni government, even after the group had lost major cities and towns that it held for more than a year until the launch of a Yemeni military offensive in mid-May.

AQAP said it would take the fight into “the cities of the enemy and its capitals” and accused the Yemeni government of being an “agent” of the US, which has stepped up its drone airstrike campaign against AQAP leaders and fighters in Yemen.

“Allah permitting, we will take the battle to quick operations and painful strikes in the cities of the enemy and its capitals, so that the battle will be in its place and so that the enemy would wish they had never fought us…” AQAP said in a statement in mid-June that was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

“We say to the agent [Yemeni] government: The battle had been far away from your palaces and administration, but you believed the falsehoods of American policy, and their money has made you arrogant…. As for us, this has been a year of preparation for the leaders, experts, and martyrdom-seekers, so await the battle in your palaces,” the statement continued.

Today’s suicide attack took place less than two weeks after the government claimed it foiled a series of AQAP plots to attack embassies in Sana’a. Three AQAP suicide bombers were detained during raids earlier this month.

AQAP has targeted Yemen’s military and security officials in a series of assassination and suicide attacks over the past year. On May 21, AQAP killed more than 100 Yemeni soldiers in a suicide attack as they paraded in Sana’a. And on June 18, a suicide bomber assassinated the Yemeni military’s top general in the south who led the offensive against the terror group in Shabwa and Abyan province.

AQAP fighters and leaders who escaped the offensive are believed to have regrouped in the remote, mountainous area of Al Mahfad in Abyan province, where they have re-established training camps.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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1 Comment

  • Berto Jongman says:

    AQAP did warn in an audio message on July 6 that it would attack the police in Sanaa within days. It also claimed the attack in a text message to Xinhua newsagency. In the message it announced new attacks and also announced that it will attempt to recapture the province of Abyan. The intended target may have been the prime minister as he was going to attend an anti-terrorism symposium at the academy under his auspices. He was already on his way but at the last minute he was warned by telephone. The convoy was diverted and he did not appear at the symposium. Sources at the academy said that they did not receive any warning.


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