Militants stage complex attack on Yemen’s Defense Ministry, killing at least 52

Tik Root | The Washington Post

SANAA, Yemen — Militants carried out a multi-stage attack on Yemen’s Defense Ministry early Thursday and clashed with government forces in the fortified compound throughout the day, leaving at least 52 people dead and scores injured, the government said.

The assault was the most ambitious in the capital, Sanaa, since May 2012, when al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a local offshoot of the global terrorist network, targeted a military parade with a suicide bombing that killed more than 90 soldiers. Although many observers here said they suspected AQAP was behind the latest violence, it remained unclear late Thursday exactly who was responsible or why the assault occurred.

Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee said in a statement that at least 167 people were injured in Thursday’s attack, which began just after 9 a.m. when a car bomb exploded outside the Defense Ministry’s western gate, shattering windows in nearby building and shaking panes across the city.