At least 20 people are reported to have been killed and many others wounded in a large explosion in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.
News agencies cited security sources who said Thursday's explosion at the defense ministry in Sanaa killed at least 20 people and was caused by a car bombing.
"A car bomb driven by a suicide bomber forced its way into the western entrance of the ministry complex," a security official told the AFP news agency.
"It was followed by another car whose occupants opened fire at the complex of buildings," the official added.
Reuters quoted a statement posted on the defense ministry's website which said the situation had since been brought under control.
Officials said the blast badly damaged a hospital inside the defense ministry complex and witnesses said it blew out the windows of homes and offices nearby. There were also reports that the gunmen had shot dead a number of foreign doctors in the hospital.
President Abed Rabbl Mansour Hadi later visited the scene of the attack, also meeting with senior military officers. He has also ordered an investigation into the attack.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday's bombing, but officials often blame al Qaeda militants for such attacks. The Yemen chapter of the al Qaida terror network is considered among the world's most active.
Struggling for stability
Violence is common in Yemen, where military bases as well as other facilities such as oil and gas pipelines have repeatedly come under attack over the past year.
An interim government that took power after long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced out of office in 2011 has also been battling secessionists in the south of the country and Houthi rebels in the north.
pfd/hc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)