by Murad al-Awasi
ADEN, Yemen, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot on Saturday claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing and armed attack on military intelligence compound in the southern port city of Aden that killed 14 soldiers and wounded 10 others.
Members of the al-Qaida terrorist group said they carried out a suicide car bombing against the military intelligence headquarters and fired rocket-propelled grenades on a nearby state television building, an e-mailed statement obtained by Xinhua said.
"Our holly warriors carried out these two successful attacks," the statement said, "because secret agents and detectives have enjoyed the support of U.S.-backed army forces when they were killing our brothers and destroying their homes in neighboring Abyan province."
The statement said the al-Qaida group would continue armed attacks against government buildings, in particular against army and intelligence compounds across the country's south.
"The explosion targeting the intelligence center in Aden was just a start... more attacks on government centers will follow," the statement added.
The Yemeni government authorities accused al-Qaida militants for masterminding several attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
A senior army officer told Xinhua in an exclusive phone interview that Yemeni armed forces will continue to fight al-Qaida operatives.
"Army and government leadership are now more determined than ever to fight terrorism... and cleanse the nation from the terrorist cells," the officer said on condition of anonymity.
"Targeting the country's military leaders won't prevent us from tracking and hunting al-Qaida leaders everywhere," he added.
Earlier, a local government official said that "It seems like a well- planned attack. The explosion hit the least-guarded gate of the military Intelligence Complex."
Yemeni Ministry of Defense said in a text message obtained by Xinhua that a suicide bomber stormed the intelligence compound with his booby-trapped car, causing a powerful explosion that destroyed part of the nearby state television building.
The Yemeni government forces declared victory over the al-Qaida branch after a month-long offensive that succeeded in driving hundreds of terrorists from stronghold they had controlled for about a year.
On June 20, Yemen's military officials announced seizing al- Qaida's last bastion in the country's troubled south following the army offensive that was backed by the United States and top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia.
However, local military and anti-terrorism experts said that the Yemen- based al-Qaida branch is still a major threat to the impoverished Arab country despite being driven out of its main southern bastions by the U.S.-backed military assault.
A string of assassinations and suicide bombings struck Yemen's southern regions over the past several months, showing that al- Qaida militants retain the capacity to strike.