Suicide attack at Yemeni military intelligence HQ


Aftermath of the suicide bombing in Lahj province. Photograph from Al Hayat.

Today at dawn a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) at the Yemeni military intelligence headquarters in Lahj province north of the port city of Aden. One soldier who was guarding the facility was killed. Five soldiers and eight civilians were reported wounded as a result of the attack, including two children.

Yemeni security sources said that an al Qaeda suicide car bomb exploded at the gate of the military intelligence headquarters in Lahj province’s Sabr district. The military facility is located about 15 kilometers north of Aden, the largest city in southern Yemen and a haven for al Qaeda militants.

The blast from the explosion was powerful enough to almost completely destroy the military intelligence headquarters. Those injured from the attack were rushed to Aden area hospitals in southern Yemen.

Although AQAP has not taken credit for the attack as of yet, the suicide bombing targeting a major military intelligence facility is in line with al Qaeda’s modus operandi. Al Qaeda has carried out a litany of attacks targeting Yemeni military and security personnel in the past few months, including the attempted assassination of the commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, General Qassem Laboza, in the industrial port town of Balhaf on March 4.

Long an al Qaeda battleground, Lahj province is particularly important to the terrorist organization given its close proximity to the port of Aden. Al Qaeda has staged a string of other terrorist operations in the province, including a suicide assault on a military base in Lawdar as recently as March 8. In October 2013, al Qaeda carried out an attack on a security base in Lahj. The year before, in August 2012, AQAP pulled off a sophisticated attack at the Yemeni intelligence headquarters in Aden.

The attack today at the military intelligence headquarters in Lahj comes two days after three al Qaeda militants were killed while assembling a VBIED in Shabwa province.

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