Yemen: 6 dead in raids to catch ministry attackers

Yemeni security forces launched a sweep in the capital to find the perpetrators of a deadly attack on the country`s Defense Ministry, sparking clashes that left five suspected militants and one member of the special forces dead, officials said on Friday.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 07, 2013, 10:35 AM IST

Aden: Yemeni security forces launched a sweep in the capital to find the perpetrators of a deadly attack on the country`s Defense Ministry, sparking clashes that left five suspected militants and one member of the special forces dead, officials said on Friday.

The brazen assault yesterday left 52 people dead of whom at least seven were foreigners, including medics working at a hospital in the complex, according to official figures. Army officials say they were told by survivors that the assailants separated out the foreigners to be shot in the head and chest.

In a claim of responsibility, Yemen`s al-Qaida branch said it targeted the complex because it housed drone control rooms and American experts, adding that any headquarters used by the Americans in their war were legitimate targets. The Defense Ministry said today that 11 militants were killed in the attack.

The foreigners included two aid workers from Germany, two doctors from Vietnam, two nurses from the Philippines and a nurse from India, according to Yemen`s Supreme Security Commission.

But a spokesman for the Philippines` Department of Foreign Affairs, Raul Hernandez, said today that seven Filipinos were killed in the attack, including a doctor and nurses, while 11 others were wounded. The victims were among 40 Filipino workers in the hospital inside the complex. Hernandez said that the Philippines` honorary consul reported that the others survived by pretending to be dead.

It was not immediately possible to reconcile the Yemeni death toll with the account from the Philippines. But officials from the military hospital said today that at least ten foreigners were killed in the attack.

Two military officials say they were told by wounded soldiers that the assailants who stormed the hospital separated out the foreigners. Then, according to the witnesses, three militants shot the foreigners.

Military officials said the majority of those killed in the hospital, both Yemeni military and foreigners, had been shot in the head.

The attack which underscored the ability of insurgents to take advantage of Yemen`s instability and tenuous security, even at the headquarters of its military.