Al-Qaeda Enemy No. 1 Killed in Yemen

Suicide bombing follows recent military successes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 18, 2012 9:46 AM CDT
Al-Qaeda Enemy No. 1 Killed in Yemen
A Yemeni man walks past a building destroyed during fighting with al-Qaeda militants in the town of Jaar in southern Abyan province, Yemen, Friday, June 15, 2012.   (Hani Mohammed)

A suicide bomber assassinated Yemen's army commander leading the fight against al-Qaeda in the country's south, the defense ministry said, just days after the military made major gains in its campaign to rout militants from their southern strongholds. Maj. Gen. Salem Ali al-Quton was traveling in a three-car convoy in the southern city of Aden when the bomber threw himself on the general's SUV and detonated his explosives. The commander was killed, and four of his security detail and a passerby were seriously wounded, the ministry said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The ministry identified the bomber as a Somali national. Aden and the surrounding area has a significant Somali population as tens of thousands of Somalis, fleeing the turmoil in their own country, have settled there in the last decades. Today's attack came after the army and tribal gunmen fighting alongside the military scored a series of battlefield victories last week in the south, driving al-Qaeda militants out of the cities of Zinjibar and Jaar in Abyan province. (More Yemen stories.)

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