You can hear the suicide bomb that killed more than 100 Yemeni paramilitary troops detonate two seconds into this video. That’s a staggering death toll for an explosive-packed vest. The troops were either tightly packed around the bomber, or it was an especially nasty device.
That’s in keeping with the work of Yemeni-based Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who has spent years trying to bring down airliners with bombs packed into underwear or printer cartridges. No word yet on whether he may be shifting his focus to local targets, but the high death toll suggests this was no ordinary explosive vest, Pentagon officials say.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed credit for the attack, which happened as the troops were drilling for Tuesday’s National Unity Day parade near the presidential palace in the capital of Sana’a. The bomber, wearing a military uniform, reportedly walked into the troops and set off the blast just before Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed was slated to arrive to greet them.
“The primary target of this blessed operation was the Defense Minister of the Sana’a regime and his corrupt entourage, and that it came in response to the unjust war launched by the Sana’a regime’s forces in cooperation with the American and Saudi forces,” AQAP said in a statement said, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group. The U.S. has been raining drones down on AQAP targets inside Yemen for years, and increasingly supporting Yemen’s anti-terror fight.
More and more, it is becoming apparent that this is the way war is going to be fought in the 21st Century. The good news is that there are relatively few fanatics willing to kill themselves. The bad news is that the U.S. military, along with those of other nations, are poorly-suited to hunt down and eliminate such threats. The real bad news is that education and development, neither quick-term approaches — constitute the key long-term solution to the problem.