SANAA (Reuters) – A car bomb exploded outside a police college in Yemen’s capital Sanaa early on Wednesday, killing around 30 and wounding more than 50 others, police sources said, underscoring the country’s deteriorating security and growing al-Qaeda threat.
Turmoil in Yemen, already high since a 2011 popular uprising that led to a change of government and splits in the army, has accelerated since September when the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi militia seized Sanaa, prompting fears of sectarian conflict.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the Sunni militant movement’s most active wings, had staged a growing number of bombings and shootings across the country and further stepped up its campaign after the Houthi advance.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s bombing. Al-Qaeda has in the past claimed they were behind such attacks.
The victims from the latest blast included students at the college and people waiting in line to enrol with the police, the police sources said, as well as passers by.
Ambulances were transporting casualties away from the scene of the blast, and bodies were seen lying in the street, witnesses said.
The explosion was heard across the city and a large plume of smoke was visible in the area of the college.
Photographs purporting to show the aftermath of the explosion, distributed on Twitter, showed the mangled wreckage of a vehicle and bloodied people lying prone on a pavement, but the pictures could not be immediately verified.
Western and Gulf Arab countries fear that further instability could weaken
the country’s government, giving AQAP more space to plot attacks outside Yemen’s borders. Yemen shares a long border with oil giant Saudi Arabia.
On Jan 1 a suicide bomber killed at least 26 people at a cultural centre in the central Yemeni city of Ibb in an attack that appeared to target the Houthi Shi’ite Muslim militia that seized the capital in September and advanced into other areas.