By Mohammed Mukhashaf
ADEN | Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:04pm EDT
(Reuters) – Suspected al Qaeda-linked militants killed at least 18 Yemeni soldiers and security guards on Saturday in a car bombing and grenade attack on the intelligence service headquarters in Aden, the Defence Ministry and witnesses said.
The ministry said more bodies were believed buried under the rubble of the building, part of which was leveled in the attack in the southern port city. At least seven others were wounded before the militants fled.
The United States has been pouring aid into Yemen to stem the threat of attacks from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and to try to prevent any spillover of violence into neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.
Last year, a U.S.-backed offensive drove al Qaeda offshoot Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law) from cities they had seized in an uprising against the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
But Islamist militants have carried out deadly suicide bombings on high-profile military and security targets since June, exposing the government’s vulnerability.