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Yemen suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

AFP , Thursday 28 Apr 2016
Yemeni loyalist forces and onlookers gather at the scene of a suicide attack targeting the police chief in the base of the Saudi-backed government on April 28, 2016 in Yemen's second city Aden (Photo: AFP)
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A suicide bomber targeted the police chief of Yemen's second city Aden on Thursday in the latest attack against senior officials in the base of the Saudi-backed government, a security official said.

The bombing came after loyalist forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition seized the key southeastern port city of Mukalla and the nearby airport and oil facilities from Al-Qaeda, ending a year-long occupation by the jihadists.

General Shallal Shayae escaped unharmed from the attack but several people were wounded when the bomber blew up a vehicle packed with explosives, the official said.

A witness said the bomber was stopped at a checkpoint on the perimeter of the compound around the general's house, where he blew himself up.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but Shayae has survived attacks by jihadists more than once.

In February, suspected Al-Qaeda militants opened fire on a convoy carrying Shayae and Aden governor Aidarus al-Zubaidi, but they escaped unharmed.

Shayae and Zubaidi also survived a car bombing that targeted their convoy in Aden on January 5 killing two of their guards.

The port city has seen a growing jihadist presence since loyalist forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition drove Huthi Shiite rebels out of the city in July.

For the first 12 months of the intervention that the coalition launched in March last year, it focused its firepower on the rebels, creating a power vacuum that was exploited not only by Al-Qaeda, but also by rival jihadists of the Islamic State group.

As a ceasefire with rebels went into effect on April 11, the loyalists and their allies turned their guns on the jihadists, driving them out of a string of southern provincial capitals and imposing heavy losses.

Washington regards Al-Qaeda's Yemen-based branch as its most dangerous and has waged a drone war against its commanders ever since 2002.

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