By Nasser Arrabyee/24/11/2010
A Yemeni tribal leader said that Al Qaeda was behind the suicide car bombing which killed more than 20 tribesmen loyal to Al Houthi Shiite rebels early Wednesday in eastern province of Al Jawf.
Al Qaeda has taken revenge for five men of its members who were arrested by Al Houthi rebels in a check point in the areas under their control earlier this year, according to the tribal leader who asked not to be named.
The tribal leader said, last August Al Houthi rebels had arrested five Al Qaeda suspects including Ali Hussein Abdullah Al Tais, originally from Sa’ada, who was released from Guantanamo. They were handed to the government.
“They were handed first to leader of Al Houthis in Zaher area (Al Jawf), Abu Saleh, who handed them to the government,” the tribal leader said over phone from Al Matoon, the area where suicide bombing took place this morning.
Few weeks before the suicide bombing of today, a statement attributed to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was distributed in Al Jawf areas warning from cooperating with Al Houthi rebels.
AQAP said in the statement that Al Houthi rebels are agents with the Shiite Iran, and that they are the enemies of Muslims and not the enemies of America and Israel as they claim in their slogans.
On his part, the spokesmen of Al Houthis Mohammed Abdul Salam said in the evening of Wednesday that American and Israeli intelligence were behind the suicide car bombing in Al Jawf, after he declined to accuse any one immediately after the attack.
The Yemeni government condemned the attack in a statement describing it contradictory to values of Islam and values of freedom and democracy.
Earlier in the day, at least 23 tribesmen loyal to Al Houthi Shiite rebels were killed and about 30 injured when a suicide bomber, believed to be Al Qaeda member, exploded his car in a big procession of cars with hundreds of tribesmen on board in Al Metoon area eastern province of Al Jawf.
The tribesmen were in their way to celebrate the Shiite day of Al Ghadeer, in Zaher district north of the Al Jawf, close to Sa’ada.
Two local sources from Al Jawf and Mareb said Al Qaeda was likely behind the attack. Al Qaeda affiliates believe that celebration of Al Ghadeer is not Islamic. “Al Qaeda repeatedly issued fatwas that Al Ghadeer is ‘Bedah’, not truly Islamic occasion to celebrate.
Al Ghadeer is a day celebrated annually by Shiite Islam to commemorate the day when the Prophet Mohammed, announced that Ali bin Abi Taleb would be his successor when he dies, as Shiite believe.
The sources said 18 bodies were identified and others are still unknown.
Two tribal leaders loyal to Al Houthi rebels were killed in the attack: Hussein Hadhban and two sons of Sheikh Abdullah Abdan.
The car bomb targeted the car of Sheikh Abdullah Abdan but he survived because he was not in the car, the sources said.
The celebration was not taken place as every one in the area was busy with the deaths and injuries.
The spokesman of Al Houthi rebels, Mohammed Abdul Salam said in press statements that 15 were killed and 30 others injured in the attack.
Earlier this year, tribesmen from Mareb province where Al Qaeda is believed to be hiding, under the leadership of the tribal leader Qasem Al Mashan announced their loyalty to the rebels leader Abdul Malik Al Houthi.
Before the attack, the spokesman of Al Houthi rebels Mohammed Abdul Salam, said that security forces were quiet and helpful with them while they were celebrating the eve of Al Ghadeer day.
Al Houthi Shiite rebels celebrated the eve of Tuesday by setting fires to tyres and fire to air almost all night. In a statement issued by their leader, the rebels were told to save their bullets for hard times and not waste them by firing to air.