Al Qaeda-linked Group Claims Responsibility for Yemen Ministry Attack
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - An al Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack on Yemen's defense ministry that killed at least 52 people.
"As part of the policy of targeting the operation rooms of pilotless planes, the mujahideen (holy fighters) have heavily struck one of these rooms in the Ministry of Defence headquarters," Ansar al-Sharia said in a Twitter message posted early on Friday.
The group is an offshoot of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Reuters reported.
"Such joint military locations which participate with the Americans in their war against this Muslim nation are a legitimate target for our operations," another tweet said.
Thursday's attack, in which 167 people were wounded, was carried out by a suicide bomber and gunmen wearing army uniforms. Some of the dead were foreign medics, including German, Vietnamese, Indian, Filipino nationals.
The US military raised its alert status in the region after the coordinated strikes on Yemen, which is also home to what Washington has called the most active arm of al Qaeda.
The security threat is an international concern. The impoverished country shares a long border with Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, and sits close to key shipping lanes.
Violence is common in Yemen, where an interim government is fighting southern secessionists and northern Houthi rebels in addition to al Qaeda-linked militants, who are seeking to overthrow the government and impose their version of Islamic law.
The country is also facing severe economic problems inherited from former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who was forced out of office by a popular uprising in 2011.