The Yemen branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility for a car explosion outside a Shia mosque used by Houthi rebels in the capital, Sanaa.
The statement came through Twitter accounts of ISIL supporters shortly after Monday night’s attack that killed at least five people at the Moeed mosque – close to the house of one of the Houthi leaders.
The group said it was targeting a Houthi “den in their stronghold in the al-Jarraf neighbourhood in Sanaa”.
It was not immediately clear if Ihab al-Kuhlani, the rebel leader, was at home at the time of the attack and whether he was affected by the bombing that damaged the gate of his house.
“There were about four or five martyrs after the explosion as well as around four wounded,” said Walid al-Sarmi, an eyewitness.
“A couple of bodies were torn apart from the explosion, they may have been the bodies of the bombers themselves.”
The Houthi-controlled Saba news agency later reported that at least eight people were wounded in the blast, including children.
Meanwhile, six Houthis were reportedly killed in a shooting at a checkpoint near the central bank in Sanaa and at least five others died after a car bomb exploded at a police station in the al-Hassaba district north of the capital.
The Sunni group, ISIL, often targets the Shia Houthi rebels, regarding them as heretics.
Besides ISIL, Houthis, who overran large parts of Yemen earlier, are battling for power against an array of forces, including southern separatists, local and tribal militias, and loyalists of self-exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The UN has declared Yemen a level-three humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale.
More than 21 million people – about 80 percent of Yemen’s population – need aid, with 13 million facing food shortages, while access to water has become difficult for 9.4 million people.
According to UN figures, more than 3,200 people have been killed since late March, when a coalition of Arab countries began air strikes after Houthis took over the reins of power in the impoverished country.
On Tuesday, the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates – a member of the Arab coalition – said in a statement that one of its officers died during the operation in Yemen, but did not elaborate on the circumstances.