Harrowing Footage of Al Qaeda Hospital Attack

CCTV shows terrorists calmly picking off patients and doctors alike, in country's worst attack in 18 months. Viewer discretion advised.

Ari Soffer ,

Yemeni paramilitary police trooper in Sana'a
Yemeni paramilitary police trooper in Sana'a

Dramatic footage has emerged of an Al Qaeda attack on a military hospital in the Yemeni capital Sana'a.

The attack, which took place last Thursday, was part of a wider terrorist assault on the Defense Ministry compound in the capital. 52 people were killed and 167 wounded in the country's worst terrorist attack in 18 months.

Among the dead were foreign medical staff, including two German and two Vietnamese doctors, and one Indian and two Filipino nurses, government sources said.

CCTV camera footage (see below) shows the dramatic moments when terrorists detonated two separate car-bombs and stormed the compound, picking off patients and staff alike with cold-blooded accuracy.

In one particularly harrowing incident, a terrorist encounters a group of people huddled together in fear in a narrow corridor. After calmly approaching them he hurls a grenade and runs - with his terrified victims scattering in panic or falling dead or injured amid the resultant explosion.

Viewer discretion advised:

The attack is believed to be the work of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and followed a familiar pattern to other mass-casualty Islamist attacks, including the recent Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi, Kenya. That attack was carried out by the Somali Al Shabaab organization, a group also linked to Al Qaeda.

A recent police report, commissioned by the NYPD, warned that such attacks were relatively difficult to prevent, given their tendency to target "soft" civilian targets.

In that respect the Yemen attack was somewhat unique, in that it targeted what should have been a relatively well-guarded military installation.

Following the attack, the United States military raised its alert status in Yemen. The US government has been helping the government battle an Al Qaeda insurgency which has seen AQAP and its affiliates seize control of parts of the vast countryside in the Middle East's poorest country. US officials have described AQAP as the Al Qaeda network's most dangerous branch.

The group has stepped up its attacks against Yemeni security forces in recent years - though these attacks have been mainly in the lawless southern and eastern provinces where jihadist groups are active - taking advantage of the weakening of the central government in Sanaa since a popular uprising that toppled president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.

In August, the United States closed down all its embassies in the Middle East for several days after U.S. intelligence intercepted a phone call between al-Wuhayshi and Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. During the phone call, al-Wuhayshi reportedly vowed to carry out an attack that would "change the face of history".