Sunday, June 15, 2014 12:14 pm
A suspected Al-Qaeda gunman opened fire on a minibus carrying staff members from a military hospital in Yemen’s main southern city of Aden on Sunday, killing eight people, an army official said.
The attacker used an assault rifle to rake the army minibus with gunfire, the official said. Two women were among the dead while 12 other staff members were wounded.
Among the wounded was “a mother who was with her two children on board” the bus.
The official accused Al-Qaeda of plotting and executing the attack, which comes as the army presses an all-out offensive it launched against jihadist strongholds in Yemen’s southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan in late April.
The army says 500 Al-Qaeda militants have been killed in the army’s latest operation, while 40 soldiers died and 100 others were wounded.
It is not the first time Yemeni medical personnel have been hit by Al-Qaeda. In December, members of the jihadist group carried out a brazen attack on a defence complex in Sanaa that killed 56 people, among them a number of medics, including seven foreigners.
Taking advantage of a collapse of central authority during a 2011 uprising that forced veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh from power, Al-Qaeda seized large swathes of the south and east.
They remain deeply entrenched in Hadramawt province further east, where they have carried out a series of spectacular attacks in recent months.
On Friday, four Yemeni soldiers and five suspected Al-Qaeda militants were killed in two separate attacks in the south, military and local sources said.
Washington regards the jihadist network’s Yemen affiliate, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as its most dangerous, and has stepped up drone strikes against its leaders.