Sayoun suicide bomber identified, 12 other men suspected of aiding operation [Archives:2008/1177/Local News]

July 31 2008

SAYOUN, July 30 – The perpetrator of the suicide bombing in the city of Sayoun in Hadramout governorate last Friday, July 25, has been identified, while Al-Qaeda in Yemen has claimed responsibility for the bombing that killed four and wounded 12 others.

The four that perished are believed to be security soldiers who worked at the targeted security camp in Sayoun. The injured included other security soldiers and several local women living near the camp. The blast was so strong that it damaged eight homes as well.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen took credit for the suicide bombing in an emailed statement that included a purported photo of the suicide attacker, identified as Ahmed Bin Said Omar Al-Masjari, also known as Abu Dajjana Al-Hadrami, according to a CNN report. “This attack was carried out in revenge for our brothers whose blood is on the hands of the infidel Yemeni forces,” the statement said. The Ministry of Defense-affiliated newspaper and web site reported that the suicide bomber was a third-level medical student at Hadramout University and was born in Saudi Arabia.

Yemen's state-run SABA news agency said the bomber drove a 2003 KIA through the security camp's gates, which prompted security soldiers to open fire on the bomber.

A security source told that the government is following 12 suspects who may have helped the suicide attacker, but have not arrested anyone yet. Two of the alleged planners are Saudis and one goes by the name of Mohammed Al-Qahtani. The other Saudi suspect's name was not released, nor were the names of the 10 other Yemeni suspects.

Previously, another group calling themselves the Yemeni branch of Islamic Jihad took credit for the attack in a press release published on the internet. “We congratulate the attacker on [attaining] paradise,” the statement said.

The operation comes within the context of “defending Islam against rallies and celebrations that pollute the minds of our sons and daughters through singing, impudence and mixing of the two sexes,” which may be a reaction to an annual tourist celebration held in Mukalla, the capital of Hadramout, on July 17 featuring artistic, cultural and sports activities, as well as folk dancing and traditional foods.

This attack follows other hard-line events such as spontaneously formed vice monitoring squads in Hodeidah and Aden, as well as the creation of a Committee to Protect Virtue and Fight Vice sponsored by well-known cleric, Abdulmajid Al-Zindani.