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Militants drove a car bomb in a hospital in the ministry complex before gunmen stormed the building, engaging soldiers in a gun battle.
A deadly attack on Yemen’s Defense Ministry in Sanaa killed 52 people, including soldiers, militants Thursday, according to the Yemeni government.
Militants reportedly drove an explosives-laden car into the ground floor of a hospital in the ministry complex before gunmen stormed the building, engaging soldiers in a gun battle.
CNN cited a Defense Ministry official stating that four foreign doctors were among the 30 killed, while The New York Times had a more conservative death toll of 20.
Dozens of others were wounded in the blast and enusing fire fight. It took several hours for security forces to regain control of the situation.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which showed hallmarks of past Al Qaeda violence.
The incident was allegedly timed with the changing of the guard, a moment when the gates to the defense complex are opened.
President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi ordered an investigation into the incident and promised to release the findings within 24 hours.
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The attack is just the latest in a series of deadly incidents over the last two years of Yemen's difficult political transition.
Secessionists, terrorists and other militants escalated the violence since former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh resigned from his post as president in early 2012.
Yemen is home to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an affiliate group that is believed to be the terror network's most powerful.
In May 2012, a suicide bomber left hundreds of soldiers dead and wounded at a military parade in the capital Sanaa.