The suicide bomber who killed nine soldiers in Aden, Yemen’s main southern city, was a Saudi member of Al-Qaeda, the official Saba news agency on Monday quoted an interior ministry official as saying.
“The suicide bomber who carried out the attack was Turki Saad Mohammed Qulays al-Shahrani,” the official said, according to Saba, referring to Sunday’s bombing in the port city.
Shahrani was “a Saudi national, explosives expert and a member of Al-Qaeda,” Saba quoted the official as saying.
Soldiers said that the bomber detonated a pickup truck at the entrance of a military camp in Aden, and that the blast tore through military vehicles as they were leaving.
A military source on Sunday put the toll at nine soldiers dead and 21 wounded, while the defence ministry’s news service in a text message said the blast killed four soldiers and wounded 21.
The soldiers said they had been heading for Abyan province, where security forces have for months been battling militants belonging to the “Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law), which is suspected of links to Al-Qaeda.
The militants took over Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, in May. Fierce clashes there have displaced thousands of residents.
The Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda branches announced in January 2009 that they had merged to form the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Dozens of hard-core Saudis fled a crackdown on Islamic militants in their own country in 2005-2006 and joined up with the Al-Qaeda cause in Yemen.