SANAA, Yemen – In a strike that bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida, assailants in military uniforms staged a brazen daytime assault Thursday on Yemen’s Defense Ministry, setting off a daylong battle that killed at least 52 people and left scores injured.
The attack began with a thunderous car-bomb blast at the compound’s gate and then a push by fighters on foot and armed with assault weapons. Their target was a hospital within the ministry complex where some foreign aid workers were based. A Supreme Court judge and his wife were reported to have been killed.
Officials said the attackers wore military garb, which fueled confusion among those trying to defend the ministry, the headquarters of Yemen’s military. The assailants also may have had stolen government license plates on their vehicles, officials said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but officials said the complex nature of the assault prompted them to suspect the group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, one of al-Qaida’s most dangerous offshoots. Its leaders and fighters have been the frequent targets of U.S. drone attacks.
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