UK & World News
Al Qaeda Suicide Bomb Kills 96 In Yemen
Al Qaeda has killed at least 96 people and wounded more than 220 in a suicide bomb attack on a military parade in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.
The bomber, who was dressed in military uniform, blew himself up in the middle of the battalion of soldiers as they were rehearsing for a parade the following day.
A statement from Ansar al Sharia, a Yemeni group affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), claimed responsibility for the attack.
The group threatened further attacks on the security services to avenge military campaigns against militants in southern Yemen if the offensive was not stopped.
But President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi vowed to press on despite the "sacrifices".
"Our armed forces and security forces will become tougher and more determined in pursuing terrorists," he told state news agency Saba.
Yemen's defence minister and chief of staff were present at the rehearsals but neither were hurt. They had arrived just a few minutes earlier to greet the troops.
The parade was to mark the 22nd anniversary of the unification of north and south Yemen and was due to be attended by the country's president.
The soldiers were rehearsing in Sanaa's al Sabeen Square where the government often holds large military events, close to the presidential palace.
The attack is the most deadly in Yemen since President Hadi took power in February with a pledge to fight al Qaeda's growing presence in the county.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon condemned the attack as a "criminal act".
He called on "all in Yemen to reject the use of violence in all its forms and manifestations" and to "play a full and constructive role in implementing Yemen's political transition agreement".
"This criminal act cannot be justified by any cause," he said, adding:"Its perpetrators must be held accountable."
The blast ripped through the area, killing more than 90 soldiers and injuring hundreds more.
Those that survived the blast ran to safety in fear of another attack.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and ferried the injured to seven hospitals in the capital.
"This is a real massacre," said Ahmed Sobhi, one of the soldiers who witnessed the explosion.
"There are piles of torn body parts, limbs, and heads. This is unbelievable. I am still shaking. The place turned into hell. I thought this only happens in movies."
Another soldier, Khaled Ali, added: "In the mayhem, we were all running in all directions. I saw the guards of the minister surrounding him and forming a human cordon. They were firing in the air."
The attack comes 10 days into a massive army offensive against the terror group in Yemen's restive southern Abyan province.
Al Qaeda have seized control of a string of towns and cities there in attacks launched since last May.
Reporting from the Gulf, Sky's chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay, said: "The country's new president, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, has pledged to take the fight to the militants.
"They have been growing in strength and are now seen as the most active al Qaeda branch in the world.
"It is believed this attack was designed to send a message to the government that al Qaeda has the ability and the will to fight back.
"It is an indicator that clearing al Qaeda out will be a long and bloody process."