In Yemen, more than 90 people have been killed and over 200 wounded in a bomb attack at a rehearsal for a military parade in the capital Sanaa.
A man had concealed explosives under an army uniform, the defence ministry said. Officials suspected he was a rogue soldier.
The state on the western tip of the Arabian peninsula has suffered a series of killings since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi replaced President Ali Abdullah Saleh in February saying he would extinguish an Islamist insurgency.
In statements not immediately verifiable, militant group Ansar al Sharia, affiliated to al Qaeda, said it was behind the attack.
Yemeni government forces have been fighting militants mostly in the south of the country.
Weakened by a people’s uprising that led to Saleh only eventually relinquishing power, Sanaa has lost control over some areas.
In an American airstrike on Sunday, a senior militant in Yemen, Fahd al-Quso, was killed. He was implicated in the bombing of the USS Cole, 12 years ago, which claimed 17 US sailors’ lives.
Yemeni political analyst Arif Aldowsh said: “The anti-terrorist war will benefit both sides politically. It will boost President Obama in the presidential election, and will help Yemeni President Hadi put his decisions into practice in the future.”
The United States sees Yemen as a vital front in its global war on Islamic militants. An American military instructor was seriously wounded in an ambush there on Sunday.
In response to two days of violence, Hadi sacked two senior commanders and allies of his predecessor.
Aldowsh said: “Some Al-Qaeda leaders had direct contacts with Saleh and the elite squad that was loyal to him. Some in that group even sold weapons to the organisation. Hadi removed them from their posts. This is no secret.”
For weeks, two commanders from Saleh’s innermost circle refused the new president’s orders to resign. A former senior official said Yemen’s military needs to be rebuilt.
To prevent Yemen’s political turmoil from strengthening al Qaeda – the recently foiled plot to get a bomb on a western-bound airplane highlighted the danger – Washington is taking its cooperation and support role extremely seriously.