SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A suicide car bombing outside security headquarters early Tuesday in a port city in southern Yemen killed two guards, a police official said.
The pre-dawn attack in the upscale Khormaksar neighborhood in Aden also wounded six people, destroyed much of the headquarters' building, blew out doors and shattered windows on two hotels and several nearby buildings, the official said.
Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, has been plagued by scores of troubles, including a powerful al-Qaida insurgency in the south and in much of its remote hinterland, a rebel Shiite movement in the north and a separatist drive in the south.
Yemenis in Aden and elsewhere in the south have demanded greater autonomy from the north after what they describe as two decades of marginalization and discrimination. South Yemen was an independent state until unification with the north in 1990.
The Interior Ministry said two suspects were arrested after Tuesday's bombing in Aden but provided no other details.
Yemen's official SABA news agency quoted the city's deputy security chief Col. Najib Meghlis as saying that an unknown number of attackers were planning to storm the security headquarters after the suicide blast but that the guards' swift action forced them to flee. The building suffered massive destruction, Meghlis added.
The powerful explosion rocked this mostly calm city. Jazim al-Sulwi, an Aden resident, told The Associated Press that he soon after the blast, he saw guards at the headquarters starting to fire indiscriminately as some people ran out of the hotels and their homes into the street. Al-Sulwi said he didn't see any attackers fleeing the scene.
Soon after the bombing, a car bomb went off in the al-Maalla neighborhood, not far from the Aden security headquarters, but caused no casualties or material damage, said the same police official who gave the initial casualty toll. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Meanwhile, unknown gunmen detonated early Tuesday an explosive device under an oil export pipeline in the southern Shabwa province, setting it on fire, a security official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Last week, tribesmen in nearby Marib province blew up another oil export pipeline, halting oil export. Local media said the pipeline carries some 90,000 barrels a day.
Pipelines carrying oil and gas to coastal terminals in Yemen's mostly lawless south have been repeatedly attacked by al-Qaida militants and tribes with whom they have ties or for demanding jobs and services.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the group's branch in Yemen, is considered by Washington as the network's most dangerous offshoot. The group's militants seized large swath of lands in the southern part of the country before the military launched a major offensive in the summer last year, driving many of them out.
The group still carries out deadly attacks. Earlier this month, militants stormed Defense Ministry headquarters leaving 56 dead, including foreigners.