by Compiled from Wire Services
May 24, 2016 12:00 am
A pair of suicide bombings carried out by DAESH militants killed at least 45 people in Yemen's southern city of Aden on Monday, security officials said. They said the bombings targeted young men seeking to join the army. One suicide car bomber targeted a line outside an army recruitment center, killing at least 20. A second bomber on foot detonated his explosive vest among a group of recruits waiting outside the home of an army commander, killing at least 25. Scores of others were wounded, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. The local affiliate of DAESH claimed responsibility for both attacks in a statement posted on social media networks by sympathizers. It said the bombing at the residence of the commander killed more than 30 and was carried out by a native of Aden it identified as Abu Ali al-Adani. It did not give casualty figures for the attack at the army recruitment center, which it said was carried out by an explosive device, not a suicide car bomb as the officials said. There was no explanation immediately available for the discrepancy.
In a statement posted online, DAESH said one of its fighters detonated an explosives belt among "apostate soldiers" at a recruitment center, followed by the bombing at a gate of the Badr base. The militant group, which has seized control of large parts of Syria and Iraq, also claimed responsibility Monday for a wave of bombings in Syrian coastal cities that killed more than 100 people. A local resident in Aden described the scene of the Badr explosions as "horrible", saying body parts had been blown dozens of meters away. "They came to complete the procedure of their recruitment and receive their first salary," he said, speaking of the young men who had gathered outside the army center. Abandoned slippers and sandals, apparently from the victims, covered the area, television footage showed. Aden resident Ramzi al-Fadhli said "wailing filled the air" as women identified the remains of relatives at Al-Jumhuriyah Hospital, where at least 32 bodies were taken.
Aden has seen a wave of attacks in recent months claimed by al-Qaida or its militant rival DAESH after government forces drove Shiite Houthi rebels out of the port city in July with support from the Saudi-led coalition. The coalition launched operations in Yemen in March last year after the rebels seized control of Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing Hadi's government to flee the capital Sanaa. Al-Qaida, which has a long presence in the Arabian Peninsula country, and DAESH have exploited the power vacuum created by the conflict to expand their zones of control in the south and southeast. Over the past two months, government and coalition forces have hit back, driving al-Qaida militants out of the Hadramawt provincial capital of Mukalla, which they had controlled for a year. But attacks on security forces have left scores dead.