BY MOHAMMED GHOBARI
SANAA Thu Dec 5, 2013 4:42pm EST
(Reuters) - A suicide bomber and gunmen wearing army uniforms attacked Yemen's defense ministry on Thursday, killing 52 people including foreign medical staff, government sources said, in the country's worst militant assault in 18 months.
One attacker drove a car packed with explosives into the gate of the ministry's compound, then gunmen in another vehicle sped in and opened fire on soldiers and doctors and nurses working at a hospital inside, witnesses told Reuters.
The U.S. military raised its alert status in the region after the coordinated strikes on its ally, which is also home to what Washington has called the most active arm of al Qaeda.
The attack wounded 167 people, said the Yemeni government's security committee. Two German and two Vietnamese doctors, and one Indian and two Filipino nurses were among the dead, it added.