The governor of Yemen's city of Aden, Major General Jaafar Mohammed Saad, and five of his bodyguards have been killed in a car bomb attack claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
The incident happened on Sunday in Aden's Tawahi district in the country's south.
ISIL, in a statement posted on a messaging service, said it detonated a car laden with explosives as Saad's convoy passed by.
The group promised more operations against what it called "the heads of apostasy in Yemen".
ISIL also posted what it said were photos of the booby-trapped vehicle as a white van carrying Saad drove past, then two other photos of a huge ball of fire which it said were taken as the bomb exploded.
Tawahi has in recent months become a stronghold for several armed groups, including al-Qaeda, whose fighters have expanded across the area.
Saad was recently appointed governor and was known to be close to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who returned to Aden last month after several months in exile in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Pro-Hadi forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, have been battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since March, when the Houthis overran the capital, Sanaa, and advanced south - forcing Hadi's government to flee.
Saad's killing comes a day after the United Nations envoy in the country held talks with Hadi in Aden aimed at kickstarting peace talks between the warring sides.
On Saturday, masked gunmen on motorcycles carried out separate attacks on vehicles in Aden, killing Colonel Aqeel al-Khodr, a military intelligence official, and Judge Mohsen Alwan, who was known for sentencing al-Qaeda fighters.
Three other people were killed in the attack on Alwan, which was not immediately claimed.
| Saad's convoy was targeted while he was driving in al-Tawahi district of Aden on Sunday morning [YouTube]
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Sanaa, Hisham al-Omeisy, a Yemeni political analyst, said the assassination of the governor followed the pattern of other political killings in Aden in recent months.
"Major General Jaafar Mohammed Saad was pro-secession of the south of Yemen and was under a lot of pressure," Omeisy said.
"He was blocked from getting to his office several times in the past weeks and his movement in the city was very restricted. To a lot of people in Aden, this attack does not come as much of a surprise."
| Jaafar Mohammed Saad, left, was was known to be close to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, right, who returned to Aden last month after several months in exile in Riyadh [STR/AFP/Getty]
Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies