Explosion at Yemen weapons factory kills dozens

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An explosion at a weapons factory in Yemen killed dozens of people yesterday. According to estimates, over one hundred people may have died in the blast.

According to the BBC, at least 78 people were killed, while The Independent reported that over one hundred people had been killed. The explosion occurred in the southern town of Ja`ar, located in the province of Abyan.

Local media reported that forces loyal to Al-Qaeda had raided the factory on Sunday. They added that residents were forced to gather supplies from the factory, when a cigarette reportedly triggered the explosion.

State news agency Saba said that militants had "seized the factory on Sunday and pushed citizens to [loot] its contents, which led to inflaming of gunpowder and explosives in the factory."

A local doctor said that "[t]his accident is a true catastrophe, the first of its kind in Abyan. There are so many burned bodies. I can't even describe the situation."

An accurate death toll is reportedly difficult to ascertain due to the condition of bodies, many of which have severe burns.