Deadly explosion hits Zaidi mosque in Yemen capital

Suicide bomber and car bomb target mosque in Sanaa frequented by both Shias and Sunnis, killing at least 20 worshippers.

At least 20 Yemenis dead as triple suicide attack targets a mosque
Medical officials said the death toll may rise with people now in operating rooms in several hospitals [EPA]

A suicide bomb attack and a subsequent car bomb at a Zaidi mosque in Yemen’s rebel-held capital, Sanaa, have killed at least 20 people, in an operation claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) Yemeni affiliate 

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The suicide attacker blew himself up inside the Al-Mouawed mosque during the evening call to prayers on Wednesday, while the car bomb was detonated outside the entrance as rescuers came to help the wounded, witnesses said.

Medical officials said the death toll may rise with people now in operating rooms in several hospitals.

The explosions left body parts and bloodied floors in the mosque frequented by both Sunni and Shia Muslims, according to the AP news agency.

A statement shared on Twitter by supporters of the group, said ISIL member Qusai al-Sanaaeni infiltrated the “apostate Houthis with his suicide vest in al-Mouawed mosque in al-Jaraf district in North Sanaa and then the blast was followed by a car bomb parked outside the mosque when the ambulances arrived to the scene”.  

The group has carried out similar bombings in Sanaa this year.

Yemen has been mired in violence since Zaidi Shia rebels, known as Houthis, swept down from their stronghold in Saada and captured Sanaa last September.

The Houthis are fighting alongside army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against forces loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, as well as southern separatists and local militia.

A Saudi-led and US-backed coalition has been launching airstrikes against the rebels since March.

The conflict has killed more than 2,100 civilians, according to the UN.

Source: AP