SANAA, Yemen — Yemen’s defense minister escaped a suicide bomb attack on his convoy Tuesday in the volatile southern city of Aden, an assault that government officials blamed on al-Qaeda.
It was the second attempt to kill Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed in less than a month, underscoring the tense environment in Yemen’s south, where al-Qaeda-linked militants have taken control of large swaths of territory this year.
A suicide bomber driving a car detonated explosives alongside the minister’s convoy on a coastal highway in Aden. The government said in a statement that several members of the minister’s security detail were injured but that he was unharmed. No group asserted responsibility, but the government blamed “al-Qaeda terrorists.”
Late last month, Ahmed’s vehicle struck a land mine in Abyan province, also in the south, killing two of his bodyguards.
Tuesday’s attack comes five days after President Ali Abdullah Saleh suddenly returned to Yemen after nearly four months in Saudi Arabia, where he was treated for injuries suffered in a June attack on his presidential compound. Many Yemenis fear that his return will stoke more violence in this nation, the Middle East’s poorest, which has been gripped by a populist uprising for eight months.