There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida, whose chapter in Yemen is considered among the world’s most active.
The Defense Ministry issued a brief statement confirming the attack. It said “most” of the gunmen had been killed, but did not say how many there were. It did not give any other details.
The officials said the blast badly damaged a hospital inside the complex and blew out windows and the doors of homes and offices in the immediate vicinity.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.
Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed was in Washington for talks Thursday.
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