Al Qaeda aimed to assassinate both senior military officials and soldiers of the parade, survivors say
Two new suicide bombers arrested, and terrorist assigned to kill minister of defense killed before he triggers RPG.
Suicide bombings kill more than drones?
By Nasser Arrabyee,22/05/2012
Two suicide bombers with two motor cycles were arrested before they implemented a new terrorist operation against the Yemeni army after the massacre of Monday in which hundreds of soldiers were killed and injured, security sources said on Tuesday.
The two suicide bombers were supposed to ram their motor cycles into busses carrying the soldiers who were participating in the military parade held in Sanaa on Tuesday to celebrate the national day despite the massacre of Monday that aimed parly to foil the celebration.
The parade was not held in the square where the massacre happened but it was held in the air defence college, a closed place nearby by the house of President Hadi. Less than half of the parade forces participated in the celebration which was attended by Preisdnet Hadi and the State officials and diplomats.
Soldiers from the rival units ( Defected and loyal to former Preisdent Saleh) were excluded from participating in Tuesday's parade after the massacre of Monday.
There were only 2900 student soldiers in the parade who all were from military colleges and institutes. On the 22nd anniversary of the Unification Day on May 22, 1990, President Hadi vowed to eradicate Al Qaeda from Yemen.
The Al Qaeda in Yemen claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of Monday saying it was in retaliation for the " American war" against them in the southern province of Abyan.
In the statement which was sent to local journalists as SMS from Al Qaeda elements who are always in contact with media, Al Qaeda said the target was the minister of defense Mohammed Nasser Ahmed and his deputies.
Neither the minister nor anyone of his deputies were harmed because they were watching the parade from the stage which is about 500 meters away from the middle of the square.
Observers say that Al Qaeda targeted as many as possible of soldiers not the minister, but after the wide local and international condemnation of their massacre, Al Qaeda wanted to absorb some of the people's anger by saying the target was the minister of defense who leads the battles against Al Qaeda in the south at the moment.
However, interviews with survivors from the soldiers showed that Al Qaeda actually was targeting both all the soldiers and all the officials including the minister of defense. Some soldiers said they saw an attacker with RPG aiming at the stage.
But the attacker with RPG was killed while he was trying to kill the minister of defense and other senior military officials, immediately after the suicide bomber blew himself up killing more than 100 and injuring more than 300 in the middle of the parade rehearsal.
"After the suicide bombing, our commander ordered us to lie on the ground, because he was seeing the attacker with RPG aiming at the stage of the officials," said Jamal, an officer who was participating in the parade rehearsal.
" We lay down to the ground, and after we heard three bullets, we were told to stand up and go away," said the survivor officer, Jamal.
"They told us then that one of the security men shot the attacker dead before he triggered the RPG," added the officer. The RPG attacker was wearing civil clothes not like the suicide bomber who was wearing a military uniform to divert the attention when he walked into the parade.
The soldiers of the parade were given about 10 minutes break at about 10 am on Tuesday. Some soldiers climbed tduring the break through the wall between parade square and the adjacent amusement parking, Al Sabeen Amusement Park. "I think the suicide bomber entered at the time of the break, it was easier for him because coming in coming out at that time was very random," said the officer Jamal.
The eye witness Abdullah Saeed, said he saw soldier alone in the amusement park getting closer and closer to the wall. " Then I saw many soldiers coming in and out through the wall, and this one joined them and jumped over the wall like the others, and seconds after that I heard the bombing," said Abdullah Saeed, who works as a vendor. " After the bombing I remembered that soldier passed beside me, and was alone for some time," he added.
It was a horrible day for the 25-year old officer, Jamal, along with more than 6000 colleague soldiers from all security and military units who were in the last minutes of the last parade rehearsal in Al Sabeen Square, the country's largest parade square in southern part of the capital Sanaa.
"All of a sudden and minutes before we finish, we heard a huge explosion, and then we heard the commander of the parade talking through the loud speaker, ' Do not move'! And seconds later he was saying ' go away, go away'!," said Jamal.
"As I was moving away from the middle of the square, I was seeing legs and arms in the air, only then I understood it was an attack against us," he said.
The massacre, which was condemned by almost the whole world, came two weeks after the top leader of Al Qaeda Eyman Al Zawahri called his followers in Yemen to overthrow the new President of Yemen, Hadi, who, he said, is even worse than Saleh.
One day before the massacre, Al Qaeda failed to assassinate American military trainers in the western province of Hodeida. On the same day, Al Qaeda kidnapped a Spanish security expert from the Spanish embassy. The Yemen security authorities found the dead body of the Spanish expert on Tuesday in Sanaa.
On Wednesday May 23rd, 2012, friends of Yemen are meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh to discuss how to help Yemen stand on its own once again.