Report: Death toll in Yemen munitions factory blast rises to 150
The death toll has risen to 150 following an explosion at an munitions factory in southern Yemen, dpa reported Tuesday according to broadcaster Al Arabiya.
Local media reports on Monday put at 110 the number of fatalities at the factory in the city Zunjubar in Abyan province completely destroyed. Doctors said children were among the victims.
Security sources have blamed Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for the blast, which came a day after the factory was allegedly raided by suspected al-Qaeda militants.
However, some observers speculated that the blast was conveniently timed for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to divert attention from ongoing protests against his rule.
Saleh late Monday again rejected demands to step down, saying those who were against him should challenge him in elections.
Presidential elections are due in 2013.
"Those greedy for power shall opt for civil discipline and choose ballot boxes, and if people put trust in them we will hand over power them," Saleh said.
Demonstrations began in Yemen in February, with protesters calling for the ouster of Saleh who has been in power since 1978.