Yemeni military investigators say 12 militants, mostly Saudi nationals, were responsible for a brazen attack on the Defense Ministry’s complex in the capital.
The committee led by Yemen’s Chief of Staff Gen. Ahmed al-Ashwal put out a report Friday that set the death toll at 56, with another 215 wounded.
It described Thursday’s attack as a two-stage operation, in which attackers disguised in military uniform drove a car packed with explosives into the complex, blew it up, then split into two groups. One swept through a military hospital while the second group attacked a laboratory. Both killed everyone they found.
An al Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack on Yemen’s defence ministry that killed at least 52 people, the country’s worst militant assault in 18 months.
“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 (Partisans of Islamic Law) said on Friday.
The group is an offshoot of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
“Such joint military locations which participate with the Americans in their war against this Muslim nation are a legitimate target for our operations,” a statement added.
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 and Filipino nationals.
The U.S. 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.