A suicide bomber blew himself up at a rehearsal for a military parade on Monday in Yemen's capital, killing 96 soldiers and wounding more than 200, in one of the deadliest attacks in the city in years. Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday said Turkey is saddened by the attack and expressed its condolences to the families of the victims. The statement added that the fact that the attack happened a day before Yemen's National Day and the “Friends of Yemen” meeting in Riyadh clearly shows it was aimed at political transition, stability and peace in the country.
Yemen's ousted president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, stepped down in February as part of a US-backed, power-transfer deal brokered by Gulf Arab countries aimed at ending political unrest in the country. It gave Saleh immunity from prosecution in return for relinquishing his power. Since then Yemen's new president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has pledged to restructure the army and purge it of Saleh family members and loyalists suspected of hindering reforms.
Since the revolt erupted, inspired by other Arab Spring uprisings, al-Qaeda militants have overrun large swaths of territory and several towns and cities in the south, pushing out government forces and establishing their own rule. In recent weeks, the army has launched a concerted effort to uproot the militants from their strongholds and is closely coordinating with a small contingent of US troops who are helping guide the operations from inside Yemen.
Monday's bombing is one of the deadliest attacks to have occurred in Sanaa.
In June of last year, an attack targeting Saleh's compound left 11 bodyguards dead and seriously injured Saleh and five senior officials who were with him. In 2008, an attack on the US Embassy in Sanaa left some 19 Yemeni soldiers dead.
Turkey has said it is sure that all segments of society in Yemen will not allow similar incidents to sabotage the democratic transition period and peace in the country by acting in unity, solidarity and harmony. It added that Turkey will continue standing by the Yemeni people during this process.