The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday confirmed the death of seven Filipinos in Yemen in a suicide bomb attack on the defense ministry.
The hospital where the Filipino were working is located inside the ministry’s compound, Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said.
Hernandez said 11 other Filipinos were injured, but only one needed surgery for a serious head wound.
In a press briefing, Hernandez said a Filipino male doctor and six Filipino medical workers, mostly female nurses, were killed during the terrorist attack in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
They were among the 52 people believed dead and 162 people injured in the incident.
Hernandez is withholding the names of the Filipino fatalities until their next-of-kin are notified.
Based on reports from Honorary Consul Mohammad Al-Jamal, the first explosion detonated at the ministry’s gate at around 9:30 a.m. Thursday when. A second suicide bomber was apprehended but a third was able to enter the compound to detonate the bomb.
The explosion collapsed of the ministry building.
“Others survived the ensuing gun battle by pretending to be dead,” Hernandez said.
There are about 40 Filipinos working in the ministry’s hospital. Three of them were in vacationing in the Philippines.
Hernandez said the Philippine embassy in Riyadh, who has jurisdiction over Yemen, is coordinating closely with the Yemeni government.
Vice Consul Redentor Genotiva will be sent to Yemen to assist the victims and determine whether a crisis alert needs to be raised.
A level-one crisis alert has been imposed by the DFA in Yemen since October 2012 because of sporadic violent protests and terrorist activities there.
Although no one has taken responsibility of the crime, many point to the al-Qaeda, which has been operating in Yemen for years.
The Foreign Affairs department called on the Yemeni government to bring justice to the victims of the incident.
“We condemn this senseless and barbaric act and we call on the Yemeni government to bring the masterminds to justice and to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of Filipinos and other foreigners in Yemen,” Hernandez said.
BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON