At least 5 soldiers killed in military compound explosions in Yemeni capital

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-10-18 17:43:00

At least five soldiers were killed when explosions hit a main military compound in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Thursday, an officer told Xinhua.

"Five soldiers were killed and several others were seriously wounded when a Katyusha rocket hit our barracks near the underground ammunition storehouse in the First Armored Division, just a few meters away from the Information Ministry," the officer told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity.

"The explosions were caused after a rocket-propelled grenade ( RPG) was mistakenly fired into the Katyusha rockets storehouse, which locates at the low frame of a mountain inside the camp," said the officer.

"One of the newly recruits made that mistake as we were training them in a military exercise on firing RPGs on Thursday morning," he added.

Fire engines rushed to the explosion area as thick column of black smoke was seen above the camp.

Witnesses said they saw more than 20 missiles fired out from the camp. Some of them exploded in the air above the military camp, while others hit nearby residential neighborhoods and the buildings of the Information Ministry as well as privately-owned Iman University.

Local media reported that one civilian was killed and seven others from one family were injured when Katyusha rockets randomly hit Sofan and Sawad Hanash residential quarters.

Meanwhile, General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of the First Armored Division, said in a statement on his website that the explosion of the missile store was caused by an "electrical fault. "

After protests against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh erupted last year, al-Ahmar joined the opposition in March 2011 to force the 33-year ruler to step down. Fighting between the defected army and government forces in the capital left more than 2,000 people killed and thousands of others injured.

After months of mediation by the international community, Yemen saw a presidential election in February, when Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was elected as the new president.

Hadi, who has been working to reunite the divided army and launch a national dialogue to settle disputes among all rival forces, ordered an investigation into the missile store explosion, according to the defense ministry.

Yemen is undergoing a political transition that seeks to settle the political and economic challenges and reunite the army in order to focus efforts on fighting against the resurgent al-Qaida branch.

Posted in: Mid-East

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