Last updated: 28 August, 2011

Yemen navy foils suicide attack

Yemen’s navy has foiled a suicide bomb attack on one of its warships off the coast of the Al-Qaeda stronghold of Abyan province in the south, the defence ministry said on its Internet site on Sunday.

“A small high-speed boat tried to approach one of our warships on Saturday at around 21:00 hours local time (1800 GMT)” off Abyan, navy chief Rear Admiral Ruiss Abdullah Mujawar was quoted as saying on the site.

The vessel continued on its course despite warning shots being fired, and “naval forces then fired at the craft, which sank along with its occupants,” he said.

The defence ministry said the small boat had been filled with explosives, but gave no information on those thought to have been behind the failed attack.

Abyan is a bastion of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), whose militants have seized several villages since they occupied the provincial capital of Zinjibar at the end of May.

The most infamous Al-Qaeda sea-borne suicide attack in Yemen was on October 12, 2000 and targeted the warship USS Cole in Aden, killing 17 American sailors and wounding 38.

Two years later, a small boat filled with explosives blew a hole in the 500,000-tonne French supertanker Limburg as it prepared to dock, killing a Bulgarian crewman and wounding 12 others.

Al-Qaeda admitted responsibility for that attack also.