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Police arrest two after deadly suicide bombing

Latest update : 22/05/2012

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Article text by News Wires

Yemeni police arrested two men wearing explosive belts just hours after a suicide attack on a battalion killed 96 soldiers, a security official said Tuesday. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack.

AFP - Yemeni authorities arrested two men hiding explosive belts under their military uniforms hours after a soldier blew himself up in the middle of a battalion killing 96 troops, an official said Tuesday.

The two men, "wearing explosives belts each packed with 13 kilograms (28.6 pounds)" were arrested in Sanaa on Monday soon after the deadly bombing at Sabeen Square, the security official said on condition of anonymity.

"They were planning to carry out further attacks," the official added.

Monday's attack, in which around 300 soldiers were injured, came as soldiers rehearsed for a parade to mark the reunification of the country.

The suicide bomber was dressed in army uniform which concealed powerful explosives, officials said.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the name given to the group's Yemen branch, claimed responsibility for the attack which it said targeted "the defence minister and other leaders of the US war on our people in Abyan" province in the south.

Yemen's military launched a major offensive in Abyan on May 12 in a bid to drive Al-Qaeda linked jihadists out of towns and cities in the restive province where they have held sway since May last year.

Since the offensive began, 234 people have been killed, according to a tally compiled by AFP, including 158 Al-Qaeda fighters, 41 military personnel, 18 local militiamen and 17 civilians.

The attack was the largest against Yemeni troops in the capital since Hadi assumed power in February.

US President Barak Obama said the United States was very worried about the threat posed by Al-Qaeda's affiliates in Yemen and pledged to work with the Yemeni government to crack down on the extremists whom Washington blames for several attempts to blow up US airliners and cargo planes.