Yemeni officials and citizens condemned the bombing Saturday (August 4th) in Jaar that killed more than 40 people and wounded as many as 45 others.
The victims were attending a wake for the nephew of Abdel Latif al-Sayed, leader of the popular committees in Jaar. Two of al-Sayed's brothers were killed in the attack.
The Defence Ministry announced Monday that the army and popular committees identified the al-Qaeda members responsible for the attack and arrested five suspects, including four leaders in the organisation. One arrested individual was wearing a woman's abaya.
On Tuesday, army personnel and members of pro-government popular committees raided a house in central Jaar looking for suspects. Two al-Qaeda fighters were killed and three others were wounded, AFP reported.
One of the three men arrested later died of his wounds, said Mohsin bin Jamila, a member of the town's local administration.
"The investigation revealed that the [bombing] attack involved an explosive device planted at the site of the wake in revenge for Abdel Latif al-Sayed's stances," Ahmed al-Rahwi, deputy governor of Abyan province, told Al-Shorfa.
Popular committees played a crucial role in expelling al-Qaeda from Jaar in June.
"The bombing was a terrorist act that struck the population of Jaar and surrounding areas like a thunderbolt in the most tragic sense," al-Rahwi said. "It was a terrorist act in every sense of the word."
Al-Rahwi said three of his escorts were killed in the incident.
Abdo al-Janadi, Yemen's deputy information minister, also condemned the attack, saying it targeted "peaceful citizens who were offering their condolences". He urged all organisations and political parties to denounce the incident.
"The Jaar incident is a heinous crime against humanity, and all people of conscience and the nation's honourable forces must fight this extremist ideology that brings tragic consequences and misery upon Yemenis," al-Janadi said.
"This incident will only strengthen the resolve of the Yemeni leadership, the government and the people to confront this terrorist organisation," he added.
Jamal Nasser al-Aqel, governor of Abyan province, described the incident as a "heinous terrorist bombing".
He spoke Monday during an evening Ramadan gathering in Zinjibar organised by the provincial co-ordinating committee for civil society organisations, saying acts committed by criminal and subversive elements violate all religious, ethical and human values and run contrary to Islam and Yemeni traditions.
"The crime created panic, fear and concern among people who are now afraid to go out to the market, congregate, or even go to the mosques out of fear that terrorists may have planted a bomb," Sheikh Nasr al-Shaabi of Jaar told Al-Shorfa.
"Al-Qaeda has revealed its true face," al-Shaabi said. "Last Ramadan, when it controlled Jaar and declared it an Islamic emirate, it offered dates and water to people who were fasting. But when it lost its emirate, it switched to bombs and explosive belts to add to the people's pain."
Hussein Abdullah Saeed, 45, a teacher in Jaar, said the incident increased the sense of fear and anxiety among people.
"A number of displaced people who returned to Jaar decided to go back to Aden or other provinces, renting houses or living with family members to preserve their lives and the lives of their families," he said.