Tuesday 21 November 2017

60 killed in suicide car bomb attack on Yemeni army camp

A pickup truck suddenly accelerated through the building's gate as a food delivery arrived, exploding amid the crowd, witnesses said. Photo: Reuters
A pickup truck suddenly accelerated through the building's gate as a food delivery arrived, exploding amid the crowd, witnesses said. Photo: Reuters

Aron Estaven, Aden

A suicide car bomb attack on an army training camp in Yemen's second city of Aden killed at least 60 people yesterday.

Isil has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A security official said that the attacker drove his vehicle into a gathering of new recruits at the camp in northern Aden.

The port city, the temporary base of Yemen's Gulf-backed government, has seen a wave of bombings and shootings targeting officials and security forces.

Attacks in Aden are often claimed by jihadists from either Al-Qaeda or Isil, which have both taken advantage of the chaos in Yemen to make gains in southern and southeastern regions.

Yemeni authorities have trained hundreds of soldiers in Aden over the past two months as part of operations to retake neighbouring southern provinces from jihadists.

Earlier this month, Yemeni government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition entered Abyan's provincial capital Zinjibar.

Troops retook other towns across Abyan but have been met by fierce resistance in key Al-Qaeda stronghold, Al-Mahfid, a town which lies further east, security sources said.

The militants are still present in areas surrounding the recaptured towns and control large parts of the neighbouring Shabwa province, the sources say.

The Arab coalition which backs the Yemeni government against Iran-backed rebels has also been providing troops with air cover throughout their war against the jihadists.

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March last year and has helped government troops push the rebels out of Aden and four other southern provinces.

But authorities have been struggling to secure these provinces.

More than 6,600 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Yemen since March 2015 and more than 80pc of the population has been left in need of aid.

Exploding

A pickup truck suddenly accelerated through the building's gate as a food delivery arrived, exploding amid the crowd, witnesses said.

"Bodies and body parts are scattered all over the place," said Mohammed Osman, a neighbour who rushed to the scene. "It was a massacre."

More than 60 wounded were being taken to three area hospitals, Yemeni security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

They identified the bomber as one Ahmed Seif, distributing a photo of him smiling and holding an assault rifle next to a flag used by Islamic extremists as well as a rocket grenade launcher.

Yemen is embroiled in a civil war pitting the internationally recognized government and a Saudi-led coalition against the Shiite Houthi rebels, who are allied with army units loyal to a former president.

The fighting has allowed Al-Qaeda and an Isil affiliate to expand their reach, particularly in the south.

Irish Independent

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