7 Jan 2015

Yemen car bomb kills 30 outside police college

About 30 people are killed and more than 50 wounded after a car bomb explodes outside a police college in Yemen’s capital Sanaaa, in an attack carrying the hallmark of al-Qaeda.

The victims of the attack included students at the college and people waiting in line to enrol with the police.

Bodies were seen lying on the streets as ambulances transported casualties away from the scene.

The blast was heard across the city and a large column of smoke could be seen in the area of the college.

No-one claimed immediate responsibility for the car bombing, although al-Qaeda has claimed to be behind similar attacks in the past.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) is one of the most active elements of the Sunni militant movement, and has staged an increasing number of bombings and shootings across Yemen in recent months.

String of attacks

Tension is already high in Yemen since a popular uprising in 2011 that produced a new government and divisions in the army.

The situation worsened in September when the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi militia seized Sanaa, leading to fears of sectarian conflict.

Over the past four years, most attacks in Yemen have targeted security infrastructure.

In May 2012 a suicide bomber killed more than 90 people at a military parade, and a co-ordinated attack on a military hospital a year ago killed more than 50 people.

On 1 January a suicide bomber killed at least 26 people at a cultural centre in the central Yemeni city of Ibb.

The suicide bombing appeared to target the Houthi Shi’ite Muslim militia that seized the capital in September and advanced into other areas.

Western and Gulf Arab countries fear further instability could weaken Yemen’s government, giving AQAP more freedom to plot attacks outside Yemen.