Somali suicide bomber assassinated Yemen’s army commander leading the fight against al-Qaida in the country’s south, the Defense Ministry said, just days after the military made major gains in its campaign to expel militants from their southern strongholds.
Maj. Gen. Salem Ali al-Quton was traveling in a three-car convoy in the southern city of Aden when the bomber threw himself on the general’s pickup truck and detonated his explosives. The commander was killed along with his driver and one of his bodyguards. Five passers-by, including two women, were seriously wounded, the ministry said.
al-Qeada claimed responsibility for the attack. The ministry identified the bomber as a Somali national. Aden and the surrounding area have a significant Somali population after tens of thousands of Somalis, fleeing the turmoil in their own country, settled there over the past decades.
Monday’s attack came after the army and tribal gunmen fighting alongside the military scored a series of battlefield victories last week in the south, driving al-Qaida militants out of the cities of Zinjibar and Jaar in Abyan province.