Yemen’s Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed survived a car bomb attack on Tuesday that hit his convoy near the government headquarters, but 10 people were killed, including seven guards, a security official said.
The attack came a day after defense ministry news website 26sep.net said that second in command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Saeed al-Shehri was killed in an army operation in the country’s east.
“The defense minister was the target,” said the security official, adding that the blast took place near the car carrying guards, killing seven of them.
Three other people whose identity remained unconfirmed were also killed, he added.
Other security officials confirmed the toll, with one saying he saw “four charred bodies being pulled out of the wreckage.”
State news agency Saba reported that “a strong explosion shook the area close to the cabinet headquarters and Sana’a broadcasting headquarters in central Sana’a.”
“The explosion was a result of a bomb-laden car,” it said.
Smoke billowed from the area of the explosion sealed off by police while ambulances rushed to the scene which hosts several government departments as well as security headquarters, witnesses said.
In May, AQAP claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in the capital in which nearly 100 soldiers were killed, saying Ahmed was the target, condemning him over the army’s onslaught on al-Qaeda in the southern province of Abyan.
Yemen’s military launched a major offensive in Abyan on May 12 in a bid to drive Qaeda-linked jihadists out of towns and cities in the restive province where they have held sway since May 2011.