Blast rocks Yemen’s Defence Ministry

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Sana’a - A suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into the gate of Yemen's Defence Ministry on Thursday, causing a large number of casualties, a source at the ministry told Reuters.

Gunshots were heard near the area shortly after the explosion and ambulances rushed to the scene, a Reuters witness said.

Several army vehicles also rushed to the scene in the old district of the capital Sana’a, which is also home to the country's central bank, the witness said.

Violence is common in Yemen, where an interim government is grappling with southern secessionists, al-Qaeda-linked militants and northern Houthi rebels, as well as severe economic problems inherited from veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh who was forced out of office in 2011.

“The attack took place shortly after working hours started at the ministry when a suicide bomber drove a car into the gate,” the Defence Ministry source said.

The exact number of casualties was still unclear.

“The explosion was very violent, the whole place shook because of it and plumes of smoke rose from the building,” an employee who works in a nearby building told reporters. - Reuters

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