Discuss as:

Al-Qaida's revenge? Leading Yemen general killed by suicide bomber


Major General Salem Ali Qatan's car is lifted after a suicide bomber blew himself up next to it in Aden on Monday.

ADEN -- The commander of the military in Yemen's southern region was killed in a suicide attack in Aden early Monday, medics and a security official said, after the army drove al-Qaida-linked militants from their strongholds in the area.

The bomber, who was wearing an explosives belt, targeted Major General Salem Ali Qatan as he was on his way to work, witnesses said. He was taken to hospital, where he died. A doctor said 12 people, including 9 soldiers, were wounded.

Monday's attack showed that militants have the ability to strike despite losing ground to the army, which regained control of several towns in the southern province of Abyan last week.

Yemeni analysts said the assassination bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida in Yemen, and was probably carried out in revenge for Qatan's role in the army offensive against the militants, which was launched under his supervision.

Islamist fighters, emboldened by weak central government control, went on a rampage in Yemen's south last year while former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was grappling with protests that eventually toppled him.

The United States, alarmed by the apparent strength of al-Qaida-linked group Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), has supported the Yemeni army offensive against the militants.

More world news from msnbc.com and NBC News:

Follow us on Twitter: @msnbc_world