50 killed in bomb attack at Yemen police academy

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Sanaa, Jan 7: At least 50 people were killed and dozens of others wounded early on Wednesday when a car bomb went off outside the police academy in Yemen's capital Sanaa, security officials and medics said.

Hundreds of soldiers from the interior ministry were lining up in a long queue, waiting to be enlisted in the academy, around 7 a.m. when the explosion took place, security officials said, adding that at least 50 people were killed at the scene.

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Witnesses told Xinhua that a mini-bus was being driven very fast on the street along the wall of the police academy in central Sanaa before it exploded at the academy's main gate. The explosion could be heard across the city. Gunshots were also heard in the area after the explosion.

"The explosion occurred around 7 in the morning. A bus came to the gate of the academy and a man blew it up here. More than 50 people were killed in attack," a cadet of the police academy, Nabil Ali, said.

Ambulances were crowded and police forces cordoned off the whole area where dozens of bodies were scattered.

Medics said about 100 people were sent to three hospitals near the police academy, many of them in critical condition. The toll could rise in hours.

This is the most deadly attack in Sanaa since Oct 9, 2014, when an Al Qaeda suicide bomber blew himself up at a gathering of the Shia Houthi group, killing at least 47 people.

On June 11, 2012, an Al Qaeda suicide bomber attacked this police academy, killing at least 21 people.

The security situation in the impoverished Arab country has worsened since the Shia militia took control of Sanaa Sep 21, 2014, by force.

The Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, has conducted several bomb attacks against the Houthi group, the government and the army, killing scores of people since 2009.

On Monday, an explosive device went off at an office of the Shia Houthi group in western Sanaa, wounding two people and damaging nearby houses.

On Sunday, a bomb attack targeted Houthi local headquarters in Dhamar province, some 100 km south of the Yemeni capital, killing four people and injuring 25 others.

Last week, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shia Houthi religious ceremony in the southern province of Ibb, killing 33 Houthi followers and injuring dozens.

On Dec 16, a car bombing attack against a Houthi office in the province of al-Bayda killed 40 people, including 20 children. Two days later, a suicide car bombing attack in the western port city of al-Hodayda left 18 dead, most of whom were Houthi followers.

Fierce fighting between the group and the AQAP in the central and southern regions has forced hundreds of people to flee to neighbouring provinces.

So far, the Houthi group has clashed with the AQAP several times in the provinces of Marib, al-Bayda, Ibb and Hadramout, that have left dozens of people dead on both sides.

IANS

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