Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) carried out a double suicide bombing early this morning at the First Military Command base in Seyoun, the capital of Yemen’s eastern Hadramout province. Yemeni security sources reported that two attackers detonated separate vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) at the base, killing at least five soldiers and wounding between four and eight others.
A Twitter account affiliated with AQAP promptly claimed credit for the bombings and alleged that “tens” of soldiers were killed in the attacks. Although Yemeni security officials indicated that soldiers had prevented the explosives-laden vehicles from entering the facility, AQAP claimed that one car bomb exploded at the base’s gate and the other detonated inside the compound.
AQAP identified the first suicide attacker as Humam al Qarqa al Awlaki, also known as Julaybeeb al Awlaki. According to the group’s statement released this morning, Awlaki detonated a Suzuki Vitara laden with half a ton of explosives at the gate of the base at around 8:40 a.m. About two minutes later, the second suicide attacker, Nasser bin Ganam al Si’ri, also known as Mansour al Si’ri, detonated a Toyota Hilux carrying 1.25 tons of explosive material inside the command headquarters, allegedly killing “tens” of soldiers and disabling a number of military vehicles.
AQAP stated that its fighters had been monitoring the base prior to the operation and noted that a military convoy that included high-ranking officials had entered the facility about 30 minutes before the attacks.
Yemeni officials told Arabic news outlets that a military truck was also attacked last night in the city of al Shihr, about 150 miles south of Seyoun. Two soldiers were killed and one wounded in the incident, according to officials.
An AQAP statement released today alleged that its fighters attacked the military truck with an improvised explosive device (IED) at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the western entrance to al Shihr, killing three soldiers and wounding other passengers. The statement also asserted that soldiers from a nearby barracks began firing in the area “randomly” for over an hour after the attack, ostensibly damaging a nearby mosque and several “houses of Muslims in the area.”