Sanaa: At least 14 people, including three explosives experts, were killed and 16 others injured when a bomb they were trying to defuse went off in the southern Yemeni province of Lahj Wednesday, a security official said.
“An improvised explosive device (IED) planted in the main street in Lahj province went off at the scene, killing about 11 citizens and three explosives experts and injuring 16 others,” the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Just an hour after the explosion, army troops and police exchanged fire with unidentified attackers at the blast site, with neither side suffering any casualties, the security source said.
A medic in Ibn Khaldoon Hospital confirmed the casualty toll to Xinhua, saying that “we received the bodies of three army bomb disposal experts and 11 civilians after a bomb being defused exploded”.
Earlier this week, security forces were deployed throughout Lahj after suspected Al Qaeda gunmen carried out simultaneous attacks on several government facilities and military bases in the province.
Yemeni military officials blamed militants of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda offshoot for a series of assassinations and armed attacks, mostly in the country’s southern parts.
Since April, the Yemeni government has waged a major offensive on Al Qaeda strongholds in the country’s southern territories, killing scores of militants. The Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) based in Yemen has vowed to hit back.
The AQAP, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009 and is considered one of the greatest threats to the Yemeni government and neighbouring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.