Al Qaeda claims credit for weekend attack
SANAA | Al Qaeda claimed responsibility on Wednesday for a daring weekend assault on a military base in southern Yemen, killing nearly 200 soldiers, the bloodiest battle in a year of turmoil.
In the aftermath of the brazen attack, the U.N. envoy to Yemen warned Wednesday that the terror group has gained ground during the country’s political crisis.
Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch said in a statement posted on several jihadi websites that it carried out the attack in reaction to the military’s plans to sweep through its strongholds in the city of Zinjibar, the provisional capital of southern Abyan province.
The al Qaeda assault has stepped up pressure on newly inaugurated President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to follow through on pledges to purge the army of officers loyal to his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
For the third day, tens of thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in cities across the country, demanding that Mr. Hadi prosecute army commanders suspected of negligence or collaborating with al Qaeda in the Sunday attack.