UN condemns suicide attack on Yemeni army parade

Hundreds of Yemenis have marched through Sanaa, carrying candles to condemn the suicide attack

The UN Security Council has condemned "in the strongest terms" the suicide bombing in the Yemeni capital Sanaa that killed more than 90 soldiers.

A council statement described the attack as a "heinous act" and vowed to combat "all forms of terrorism".

Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen said one of its members carried out the attack in a square near the presidential palace.

Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi promised tougher and more determined action against militants.

"The war on terrorism will continue until it is uprooted and annihilated completely, regardless of the sacrifices," Mr Hadi said, according to state news agency Saba.

President Hadi, who assumed power in February, has pledged to oust militants from Yemen's mostly lawless and restive southern and eastern provinces.

One southern province, Abyan, has been under the control of Ansar al-Sharia - an offshoot of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) - since last year.

In its statement, the Security Council "condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack" and said its members "reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism".

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also issued a personal statement condemning the attack and called on all parties in Yemen to reject violence and "play a full and constructive role in implementing Yemen's political transition agreement".

'Barbaric'

The bombing was widely condemned by other world leaders.

The US said it was "cowardly" and "despicable" while French President Francois Hollande described the attack as "barbaric".

The blast on Monday tore through ranks of soldiers rehearsing for a military parade to celebrate Yemen's National Unity Day on Tuesday. Defence ministry officials say 222 people were injured.

Witnesses said the suicide bomber had been dressed in military uniform with a belt of explosives underneath.

Injured soldier in Sanaa hospital More than 200 people were injured in the blast

Local doctor Mohsen al-Dhahari said Sanaa's hospitals had been overwhelmed.

"Most of the injuries are to the head, we have dozens paralysed," he said.

"We expect the death toll to rise. Most of the injured here are boys in their teens."

Yemen-based AQAP admitted carrying out the attack which it said targeted "the defence minister and other leaders of the US war on our people in Abyan".

"Even if the defence minister [Mohammed Nasser Ahmed] and his aides escaped this operation, we will not tire," a statement posted on jihadist internet forums said.

"We are in a war to defend our blood which is violated in Abyan, and war only breeds war."

Most of the casualties were from the Central Security Organisation - a paramilitary force commanded by Yahya Saleh, a nephew of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yahya Saleh was dismissed from his post just hours after the attack.

President Saleh handed over power to Mr Hadi, then his vice-president, in November as part of a deal brokered by the Gulf Co-operation Council. It followed months of pro-democracy protests and armed insurrection across the country.

US military advisers are in Yemen helping the government to counter the threat by militants.

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