12 Yemeni air force cadets die in Al Qaeda attack

Sanaa, Aug 25 (IANS) Al Qaeda affiliates Sunday launched a bomb attack on a bus near the air force base in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, killing 12 air force cadets, officials and witnesses said.

"A bus carrying 24 air force cadets was blown up on a main road while heading toward the air force base, killing at least 12 cadets," an officer told Xinhua, saying Al Qaeda carried out the attack.

"Initial investigations show that an intensified explosive device was either planted inside the bus or thrown on the road in front of the bus which totally destroyed it," the official said.

Security forces cordoned off the bombing area and sent the wounded to a military hospital. Many of the cadets were seriously wounded and the death toll could go up.

Meanwhile, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the attack.

"It was the first response from us to Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's remarks in which he glorified the US drone criminals in Yemen and promised more killings," a statement received by Xinhua said.

On Thursday, Hadi said 40 suspected Al Qaeda members had been killed in counter-terrorism operations and vowed to keep fighting the Islamists till they laid down their weapons.

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