Sunday 18 August 2019

52 soldiers die in suicide bomb blast

Doctors transport the body of one of the victims to a hospital in Aden following the suicide bomb. Photo: Getty Images
Doctors transport the body of one of the victims to a hospital in Aden following the suicide bomb. Photo: Getty Images

Ahmed Al-Haj Sanaa

A suicide bomber killed at least 52 soldiers after he blew himself up outside a military camp in the southern Yemeni city of Aden.

At least 63 people were also injured in the blast, which was claimed by an affiliate of Isil.

Security officials said that preliminary investigations showed the blast was the work of a bomber wearing an explosives-laden vest. The attack took place as soldiers lined up to collect their salaries.

The Isil affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on Isil-run Aamaq news agency.

It identified the bomber as Abu Hashim al-Radfani and published a photo of him smiling and wearing a white vest as he stood next to the group's black flag. It also posted photos it said were of the blast that it claimed killed nearly 70.

The bombing was the latest to underscore how militants have been able to exploit Yemen's conflict to stage large-scale attacks and expand their reach, particularly in the south.

Yesterday's blast took place at the same military base that was also struck by a suicide bomber on December 10, killing 57 soldiers. The Isil Yemeni affiliate also claimed responsibility for that attack.

In August, another Isil-claimed suicide bombing in Aden left 72 people killed when the attacker detonated his pick-up truck among dozens of pro-government recruits.

In addition to Isil, Yemen is the long-time home to an active branch of al-Qa'ida, widely regarded as the most dangerous of the international extremist group.

Aden is controlled by a loose coalition of troops loyal to the internationally-recognised government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, local militias and jihadi groups. They are battling Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who seized Yemen's capital, Sanaa, in 2014 and later swept across much of northern Yemen.

The Houthis' advances forced President Hadi to flee the country and seek shelter in neighbouring Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition, mostly consisting of Gulf Arab states, subsequently intervened in Yemen in early 2015, launching a punishing air campaign against the Houthis.

Irish Independent

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