Aden/Tehran: Suspected Al Qaida militants launched a rocket and car bomb attack on an army headquarters in Yemen’s main southern city of Aden that left 11 people dead on Wednesday, a security official said.
The assailants fired rocket-propelled grenades at the headquarters in the Tawahi district of Aden, before infiltrating the complex, he said. They also blew up a car bomb at the entrance.
Gunmen from Al Qaida-affiliated group Ansar Al Sharia carried out a similar attack on an army HQ in the southeastern province of Hadramout in October, taking hostages and leaving 12 people dead. The army recaptured the facility and freed the hostages after nearly two days of fighting.
Meanwhile, Iran on Wednesday rejected Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s accusations it was stoking unrest in his country and urged Sana’a to track down the killers of an Iranian diplomat in Sana’a.
The accusations are “without foundation”, said foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham, quoted by ISNA news agency. Instead, she charged that meddling by “certain countries in the region ... contrary to the interests and security” of Yemen were continuing.
Afkham also urged Sana’a “to arrest and punish those responsible” for Iranian diplomat Ali Asghar Assadi’s murder in Sana’a last January, and to secure the release of colleague Ahmad Nikbakht kidnapped in July 2013 by suspected Al Qaida assailants.
The Yemeni president in an interview published on Monday renewed his country’s longstanding accusation that Iran was backing southern secessionists and Shiite rebels in the north.
He told Iran to “keep its hands off Yemen” and to stop backing “armed groups” in the country.
“Unfortunately, Iran still meddles in Yemen whether by supporting the separatist (Southern) Movement or some religious groups in the north,” he said.
In recent months, Shiite rebels have clashed sporadically with tribesmen and troops in a bid to spread their control further towards the capital.
“We had asked our Iranian brothers to review their wrong policy towards Yemen, but our demands have so far been fruitless,” said Hadi.
Hadi accuses Tehran of trying to derail a Saudi-backed political transition in Yemen, where a year-long uprising led to the 2012 ouster of former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.