ADEN (Reuters) – Dozens of people were killed or wounded in two suicide car bombings in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden on Saturday, according to witnesses and local medics.
Islamic State, in a statement carried by its Amaq news agency, claimed responsibility for what it described as two “martyrdom operations” targeting a counter-terrorism camp in Aden’s Tawahi district.
The agency provided no immediate evidence for the claim.
Aden is the temporary capital of Yemen’s internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, Hadi’s government has been battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement since 2015 in a war that had driven the country to the verge of famine.
The attack was the first one of its kind in southern Yemen since gunbattles erupted in January between southern separatists and the Hadi government over control of the city.
Officials at the city’s main Jumhouriya hospital said the bodies of five victims, most of them soldiers, had arrived at the facility, along with a number of injured people including civilians, but gave no precise figures.
Residents described two large explosions in the area that sent up a cloud of gray smoke while ambulances raced to evacuate the wounded.
Residents initially said one of the bombers targeted an office of the separatist Southern Transitional Council, but a member of the group said there was no attack on the building.
Al Qaeda and Islamic State have exploited the war in Yemen to carry out assassinations and bombings, mostly in lawless southern Yemeni areas nominally controlled by the government.
(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf, writing by Sami Aboudi and Marwa Rashad, Editing by William Maclean)