Qaida Claims Attack on Rebels in North Yemen
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has claimed a suicide bombing in mid-August against a gathering of Shiite Huthi rebels in northern Yemen, monitoring group SITE Intelligence said on Tuesday.
Witnesses at the time said two people were killed and several wounded in the August 15 car bomb attack at a government administration complex at al-Matamma, in al-Jawf province, while leaders of the Shiite rebellion were meeting.
In a statement on jihadist forums posted Monday, AQAP declared that the attack "comes within the framework of its repelling the Huthis' alleged aggression against Sunnis" in al-Jawf and Saada provinces, SITE said.
The U.S. monitoring service added that AQAP claimed in its statement the blast "inflicted mass casualties in excess of 100 in the Huthi ranks" and named the suicide bomber as Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Najda.
The attack came two days after the signing of a truce by the Shiite rebels and the Islamist ahl-Islah party, in a bid to stop the fighting that since March has flared intermittently in the area near the border with Saudi Arabia.
Yemen's mountainous far north is a stronghold of the rebels from the Zaidi Shiite community, who from 2004 fought six wars with central government forces before signing a truce in February 2010. The rebellion claimed thousands of lives.
Yemen as a whole is mainly Sunni Muslim but the Zaidis are the majority community in the north. Embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh is himself a Zaidi.
AQAP is an affiliate of the global jihadist network accused of anti-U.S. plots, including an attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound aircraft on Christmas Day 2009.