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Middle East
Suicide bombings strike Yemen's south
At least 11 people killed in separate attacks targeting pro-government tribesmen in country's volatile southern region.
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2011 14:29

The government says the fighters responsible for suicide attacks are from the Yemeni wing of al-Qaeda [Reuters]

At least 11 people have been killed by two suicide bombers in separate attacks targeting pro-government tribesmen in Yemen's volatile south, local officials and tribal sources said.

The first bomber approached a group of people in the town of Mudiyah on Sunday and greeted them, shaking their hands one by one, before detonating explosives that killed him and three others.

The second attack, which killed eight people, took place about 35km away from Mudiyah in the al-Arqub area, where the bomber drove up to a tribal checkpoint and blew himself up. A number of people were wounded in the attack.

Mudiyah is about 50km northeast of the coastal town of Shaqra, which on Wednesday became the third town to fall into anti-government fighters' hands.

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Tribesmen have sided with the army in an effort to drive anti-government fighters out of the south, where the government's grip has been weakened by months of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule.

Fighters have exploited a local security vacuum to seize three towns in the southern province of Abyan, including its capital Zinjibar, in the past three months.

The government has said the fighters are from the Yemeni wing of al-Qaeda, but analysts say other local groups may be at work.

President Saleh is recovering in neighbouring in Saudi Arabia after injuries he sustained in June when his palatial compound came under attack.

Opponents of Saleh, who was previously backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia as a partner in their counterterrorism strategy, accuse him of encouraging armed groups to show the dangers of Yemen without him.
   
Both the US and Saudi Arabia are anxious that upheaval in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state will give al-Qaeda's Yemen-based wing more room to launch attacks on the region and beyond. 

Source:
Agencies
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