Senior Yemen policeman killed by bomb in car

July 19, 2012 - 5:40 PM

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A bomb hidden inside the car of a senior Yemeni police official exploded and killed him Thursday in the south of the country, a provincial official said.

Col. Abdullah al-Maouzaei, charged with hunting down members of al-Qaida's Yemen branch, had just turned on the ignition when the vehicle blew up outside his home in the port city of Aden, the official said.

Al-Maouzaei survived three previous assassination attempts before Thursday's blast, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

He blamed the attack on Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, considered the most dangerous offshoot of the terror group. It seized several cities in southern Yemen since an uprising began last year. Since May, government troops have retaken many of its strongholds.

In retaliation, al-Qaida has staged bombings including assassination attempts of top security officials.

Since he took office in February, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has said fighting al-Qaida would be among his top priorities. Hadi, who took over from his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh after nearly a year of protests against his rule, promised to shake up a military controlled by Saleh loyalists and root out the militants.

On Thursday, some two thousand protesters demonstrated outside Hadi's residence in the capital Sanaa to demand he keep his promise to purge the military and security agencies of Saleh loyalists — including his own son who heads the powerful Republican Guards. The protesters said they would escalate their actions and boycott a national dialogue if Hadi failed to deliver.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for more than three decades before protests forced him from power early this year, warned in the past that security in the country would collapse without him and his supporters in office.