6 doctors among 25 dead in Yemen defense ministry blast

6 doctors among 25 dead in Yemen defense ministry blast
Thu Dec 5, 2013 13:43:17

Six doctors, including a Venezuelan and two from the Philippines, were among 25 people killed in a suicide bombing and gun attack on Yemen's defense ministry complex Thursday, medical and security sources said.

The death toll also includes three Yemeni doctors and five patients, among them a judge, at a hospital within the complex that took the brunt of the attack, a medic said.

A security official told AFP the death toll of the brazen attack has risen to at least 25.

A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into the Yemeni defense ministry Thursday, opening the way for gunmen who stormed the complex.

The brazen attack on the sprawling complex follows a spate of hit-and-run strikes on military personnel and officials, as the country struggles to complete a thorny political transition.

The attacks in the capital and in the country's south have been blamed on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

"A car bomb driven by a suicide bomber forced its way into the western entrance of the ministry complex," another security official told AFP.

"It was followed by another car whose occupants opened fire at the complex of buildings," he said.

The attack comes as Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser is heading a military delegation on a visit to the United States.

The ministry said gunmen occupied the Defense Hospital, within the complex, after the explosion, but security forces had regained control of the building.

"The assailants took advantage of some construction work that is taking place to carry out this criminal act," it said without elaborating.

In an apparently coordinated attack, a security source said a gunfight was still raging outside the complex.

Plumes of smoke billowed across the ministry complex, situated on the edge of the Baba al-Yaman neighborhood, as gunfire was heard.

State television broadcast appeals for blood donations at hospitals treating the wounded.

Yemen has been going through a difficult political transition since president Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in February 2012 after a year of deadly protests against his 33-year rule.


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