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Yemeni defense minister survives explosion

09-28-2011 08:27 BJT

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Yemen defense minister survives attack, protests continue

Yemen's defense minister survived a suicide bomb attack on his convoy in the south on Tuesday, while thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital repeating their calls for the president to quit.

The blast in Aden wounded seven soldiers traveling in the lead vehicle of the ministerial motorcade, but Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ali, who was riding in the second car, was unharmed, a local official said.

Yemeni Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ali

Since popular protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh broke out in this impoverished Arabian Peninsula state earlier this year, Islamist militants suspected of links to al Qaeda have tightened their grip on the south and have repeatedly targeted troops and security officials.

International powers fear growing lawlessness in Yemen could embolden al Qaeda's local wing and imperil strategic shipping routes.

But a greater concern is the shaky calm that now pervades the capital Sanaa, where observers say a surge of fighting last week between the military and soldiers who have defected risks sparking civil war on the doorstep of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

Thousands of people marched in Sanaa for a second day of protests to mark their anger at Saleh's surprise return to Yemen on Friday. He had been in Riyadh for three months receiving treatment after a June bomb attack.

Later in the evening, residents heard a blast which they said came from inside Sanaa's Central Security headquarters, a division which is believed to have been part of recent clashes. Security officials denied there was an explosion there.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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