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Middle East

Shell hits Yemen weapons store, kills one

Smoke rises after explosions were set off at the army's First Armoured Division headquarters in Sanaa October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

SANAA: A shell fired towards a Yemeni general's headquarters in the capital Sanaa hit a weapons store, setting off explosions that killed at least one soldier and wounded five on Thursday, a Yemeni army source said.

A Reuters witness heard two blasts and saw a large cloud of dust above the camp, where General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar is based.

Other witnesses said they saw at least two unexploded rockets, apparently set off by the blasts in the arms depot, that had landed in parts of the capital, one near the U.S. embassy.

Ahmar defected during last year's uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh and currently leads part of the army under Saleh's successor Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

A military source in Ahmar's force, known as the First Division, said a rocket fired from outside the camp had landed on an ammunition cache, setting off the explosions.

Authorities were still trying to find out who set off the rocket, the source said. One soldier was killed and five others were injured, he added.

The Yemeni defence ministry said the blasts were caused by an accident at the ammunition store, but gave no further details. A statement on the ministry's website said unexploded shells had landed in some Sanaa neighbourhoods and sappers had gone out to disarm them.

Ahmar broke away from the Yemeni army shortly after street protests against Saleh's 33-year-rule broke out early last year. At the time, he said his move was aimed at protecting demonstrators who had set up a protest camp in the centre of the Yemeni capital.

Hadi is trying to reunify the armed forces, which are still partly controlled by relatives of the former president.

 

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