Friday 19 January 2018

Car bomb massacres 28 mourners at a funeral in Yemen

The wreckage of the Sanaa carbomb.
The wreckage of the Sanaa carbomb.

Louisa Loveluck in Cairo

A car bomb claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) ripped through a crowd of Yemeni mourners killing 28 and wounding dozens more.

The vehicle's mangled wreckage was shown in photographs taken shortly after the blast, which targeted two Houthi rebel leaders in Sanaa during a gathering to mourn the death of a family member, a security source said.

Houthi rebels closed down the surrounding area in the centre of the city after the attack, only allowing through emergency services to help evacuate the victims.

In a statement posted online, Isil said it had organised the attack on what it called a "Shiite nest" in the Yemeni capital.

Isil has emerged as an uncompromising force in Yemen's three-month long war, exploiting the chaos to hit Shia mosques and other civilian targets. In a statement posted online, the group said it had targeted the area "out of revenge for the Muslims against the Houthi apostates".

The war pits a coalition of Saudi-led warplanes against a Zaydi revivalist militia known as the Houthis, which seized full control of Sanaa in January. The Houthis are fighting alongside local resistance groups, although their visions for the future of Yemen differ.

Across Yemen, the death toll has already climbed past 2,600 and the country, already impoverished before the war, has been crippled by a severe humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations has described Yemen as being just "one step away from famine".

Amid the turmoil, jihadists from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have also flourished, seizing control of the southern port of Mukalla in April.

The city is now governed through an informal power-sharing agreement with local residents.

The attack was the latest in a wave of cross-border strikes that have taken place on a near-daily basis since early May, killing dozens of Saudi soldiers and civilians.

Irish Independent

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