• Strong explosion at defense ministry in Yemen capital

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    Strong explosion rocked Yemen’s defence ministry complex in the heart of the capital Sanaa on Thursday, an Agence France-Presse correspondent said.

    Plumes of smoke billowed across the complex, situated on the edge of the Baba al-Yaman neighborhood, and gunfire was heard.

    There was no immediate indication of the cause of the blast and it was unclear if there were any casualties.

    The incident comes at a time when Yemen is experiencing a surge of violence, and follows a spate of hit-and-run attacks on military and other officials in Sanaa by militants on motorbikes.

    The attacks in the capital and in the country’s south have been blamed on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which Washington regards as the jihadist network’s most dangerous branch.

    Yemen has been going through a difficult political transition since veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in February 2012 after a year of deadly protests against his 33-year rule. AFP

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