Theattack on the heavily protected security complex killed 11 and furtherbolstered U.S. concerns that Yemen's weak central government may not beup to tackling an increasingly effective foe seemingly able to strikeanywhere inside or outside the country.
"We were hit where weleast expected it," Yemeni Information Minister Hassan al-Lozy told theAl-Arabiya news channel. "This is a serious escalation from theseterrorist elements."
U.S. officials say insurgents, includingAmericans, are training in militant camps in Yemen's vast lawlessspaces and allying with powerful tribes opposed to the government ofPresident Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Those concerns deepened lastDecember, when al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibilityfor the failed attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner.
Inthe wake of the Christmas attack, with U.S. aid, training andintelligence, Yemen's military and air force have struck repeatedly atal Qaeda sites and suspected hideouts, and arrested several suspects.
Ina statement, the Yemeni government said the attacks bore the hallmarksof al Qaeda and resulted in the death of seven members of the securityforces, three women and a child in the southern port city of Aden,about 200 miles south of the capital.
The fact that one of themost important security institutions in the country's second largestcity could be attacked reflects the state's weakness, said analystMansour Hael, hinting that the attackers must have had inside help.
"Thequestion to ask is how these attackers were able to infiltrate such afortified security area. This raises a number of suspicions," he said.
Theheadquarters of the powerful intelligence agency is located in anupscale neighborhood of government offices overlooking the sea, flankedby the state television building and a branch of the Transport Ministry.
Labels: Middle East