Yemen's army foils al-Qaeda bombing attempt

Yemen's army foils al-Qaeda bombing attempt
Sun Jun 2, 2013 22:06:32

Yemen's army has foiled an attempt by an al-Qaeda-linked suicide bomber to blow up a strategic pipeline that takes gas from central fields to southern maritime terminals.

Soldiers opened fire on a vehicle that was speeding towards a gas pumping station, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Belhaf export terminal on the Gulf of Aden, killing the driver, said the army official on Sunday.

"The bomb-laden vehicle was driven by an al-Qaeda suicide bomber," he said.

Gunmen also traded fire with soldiers near another pumping station, 10 kilometers to the north of the other station, the official added without giving any casualty figures.

"Al-Qaeda militants wanted to carry out these attacks simultaneously to sabotage the pipeline and stop pumping the gas," said the official, a member of the brigade responsible for protecting such vital installations in the region.

Repeated attacks on gas pipelines feeding Belhaf terminal have forced the suspension of exports for weeks.

Saboteurs have regularly targeted gas and oil pipelines in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation, which relies on its modest energy exports as a main source of revenue.

The attacks, blamed on tribesmen seeking to barter with the authorities or al-Qaeda, have become more frequent in the wake of a 2011 uprising that forced out veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Petroleum and Minerals Minister Hisham Abdullah said in early July that Yemen had lost more than $4 billion in revenues since February 2011 due to the attacks.

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