By Sidar Murtazin, Reuters and Ayman al-Warfalli, IRIN
Damage at the protest
In a televised statement, Yemeni Defense Minister Mohammad Nasser Ahmed said Yemeni air defenses shot down the plane that carried out an apparent missile attack in the province of Hajjah on Friday, killing at least 29 civilians, including 11 children, and injuring several others.
The attack on the mosque and mosque classroom in the district of Hadramout military complex followed a day of clashes in which the Yemeni army announced the successful capture of the district from local tribes and al Qaeda on Friday.
Ahmed said a small plane had dropped three bombs on the location in the town of Qahoura.
He said the al Qaeda affiliate, Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), was behind the strike and that an investigation was underway.
Ahmed said there was no response to the attack from any Yemeni air defense units.
He added that strikes were also carried out in the same district on Friday in response to what he said was an attempt by tribes to take power. He did not say if any casualties had been reported.
Yemeni forces have mostly taken control of rural areas in this southern province since they broke a years-long alliance between al Qaeda and Sunni tribes.
Hajjah was recaptured in May by local Sunni tribes, backed by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states.
It has been important to al Qaeda, through the dispersal of local jihadists in a province adjacent to one of the most volatile areas in Yemen.
The town, still under the control of al Qaeda militants, has been hit by regular coalition raids.
Ansar al-Sharia also has a presence in the neighboring province of Abyan, with the use of weapons smuggled across the southern border with Saudi Arabia.