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Tuesday Papers

More news coming out of Yemen about the bomber’s id. Faysal Mukrim in al-Hayat, reports what News Yemen had yesterday, although his math is off by about a decade.

But Reuters has a different name, and a different story. The story identifies the attacker as Abd al-Rahman Mahdi al-Aajbari from Taizz. It will probably take a while for the details of the story to sort themselves out, but the broad outlines of the story seem to be clear.

The young man was wearing a suicide belt and blew himself up among a group of tourists. Apparently, other tourists had been through the same site earlier in the day and the man posed for pictures with them, but deemed them to few to attack. It wasn’t until a large group, the South Koreans, came that he blew himself up. Or at least those are the broad strokes of the story as I understand it.

The fact that the bomber passed on smaller groups of tourists takes away one particular explanation that the government has used in the past. Namely, that he was crazy. Well, obviously, something was a bit off for him to blow himself up, but the fact that he distinguished between different targets, I think, argues that he was capable of decision making.

Also, the fact that he wore a suicide vest, and carried out his attack on foot is a new, and to my mind, worrying development in Yemen. Tactics from other theaters of operations are now making there way to Yemen, which should be a cause of concern for all who watch Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula.

Finally, if the Reuters story is correct and he went to Somalia, then to me there are two possibilities. First, the government may argue that he was radicalized in Somalia, and that this isn’t a homegrown problem. This rationale has been used before to little impact. Second, it would further support what I have been saying for months, which is that al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen are looking to move back and forth between Somalia.


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