A car bomb has exploded near a military hospital in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, killing at least 28 people, security officials have said.

In a statement posted online on Monday, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack that also injured 20 others - adding that they had organised the attack on what they called a "Shia nest" in the Yemeni capital.

The group said it had targeted the area "out of revenge for the Muslims against the Houthi apostates".

The car bomb targeted Houthi rebel chief brothers Faycal and Hamid Jayache 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, witnesses said.

"At approximately 11:30 we heard a loud explosion, it was a truly powerful explosion. We came out to see what happened and the homes were severally damaged," witness Yehia Ali told Reuters.

"It was an explosive placed inside a car, the car was an Echo, that had been parked here since about eight in the evening and no one paid attention to it."

A military alliance led by Saudi Arabia has been bombing positions of Yemen's dominant Houthi group and its allies in the army to dislodge them from the capital and restore the exiled president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Despite the months of air strikes backing up the Houthis' armed opponents, the Houthis have not lost ground on the battlefield and have stepped up their exchanges of artillery and rocket fire with Saudi forces along their border.

On Tuesday, a Houthi military spokesman said its forces had launched a Scud missile at a Saudi military base.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies