ADEN : Al-Qaeda militants launched a rocket and car bomb assault on an army headquarters in Yemen’s southern city of Aden Wednesday in an assault that left 20 dead, including three attackers, officials said.
“Six soldiers, three attackers and two passers-by were killed in clashes” that followed, a military official said of the two-pronged attack on the complex in the Tawahi district of the city, updating an earlier toll of six dead. “A group of assailants attacked the northern part of the building, and some of them climbed the wall into the building, while others blew up a bomb-laden car at the entrance located in the west of the premises,” the official said.
Reinforcements from the 31st Armoured Brigade stationed in Aden were dispatched to support the troops in Tawahi, the official said.
No information was immediately available on the number of attackers.
The official Saba news agency quoted a security official as saying the incident was “a suicide terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda.”
“The guards at the HQ have foiled this cowardly attack” and government forces were still “hunting down the attackers who fled after the assault,” the official told Saba.
Gunmen from Al-Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia carried out a similar attack on an army headquarters in the southeastern province of Hadramawt in September, taking hostages and leaving 12 people dead.
The army recaptured the facility and freed the hostages after nearly four days of fighting.
In December, Al-Qaeda militants launched a brazen daylight assault on the defence ministry, killing 56 people.
The group has taken advantage of the weakening of the central government since 2011, as a result of a popular uprising that toppled president Ali Abdullah Saleh after 33 years in power.
Washington regards Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as the global jihadist network’s most dangerous affiliate and has stepped up drone strikes against the group in recent months.