Top Yemen commander killed; al Qaeda claims responsibility
June 19, 2012 -- Updated 1050 GMT (1850 HKT)
- The commander of Yemen's southern regions is killed in a suicide attack
- Al Qaeda claims responsibility
- President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi vows to continue to battle al Qaeda
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- One of Yemen's top military leaders died Monday in the southern port city of Aden in a suicide attack for which al Qaeda claimed responsibility.
The Defense Ministry said Salem Qatan, commander of the Southern Regions, was leaving his home on his way to work when a Somali national ran at his vehicle and detonated himself. Qatan died immediately, along with two of his guards.
Witnesses told CNN that he was well-guarded at the time of the attack.
As top commander in southern Yemen, Qatan is the highest-ranking military commander killed by al Qaeda since Yemen joined the war on terror.
Al-Qaeda in Yemen wants Western recruits
Yemen on brink of hunger catastrophe
Aid groups call for urgent help in Yemen
Suicide blast kills 100+ troops in Yemen
He arrived in Aden from Abyan province last week after leading military operations against al Qaeda in the towns in Jaar, Zinjibar, and Shuqra.
Al Qaeda has announced it would be shifting the war toward major Yemeni cities.
Qatan was appointed days after President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi took power in late February through a peaceful transfer deal that led to Yemen's longtime president leaving office.
Last month, a suicide bomber killed more than a hundred troops in the capital, Sanaa. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hadi praised Qatan and renewed his vow to fight the militant group on Monday, saying the attack will not weaken the government's resolve to fight terror.
"Qatan led wars against terrorists and supporters of evil," he said.
Hadi added that unemployment and poverty are tools the terror network uses to recruit youngsters.
Meanwhile, in the southern Shabwa province, troops on their way to the militant stronghold of Azzan clashed with dozens of al Qaeda fighters.
Two security officials told CNN that three militants and one soldier were killed in the fighting.
Government troops are still trying to retake the town of Azzan, al Qaeda's last stronghold in Yemen.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.