Car bomb hits Sanaa mourners as Houthis launch Scud at Saudi Arabia
Issued on: Modified:
A car bomb claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group exploded overnight in the Yemeni capital Sanaa causing dozens of casualties, medics said Tuesday, as Houthi rebels claimed they fired a Scud missile into neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The car bomb attack 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, who control Sanaa and vast swathes of the country, 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.
There was confusion over the toll on Tuesday morning. At least 28 people were wounded in the attacks, according to REUTERS news agency, while AFP said the same number of people had been killed.
In a statement posted online, the IS group said it had organised the attack on what it called a "Shiite nest" in the Yemeni capital.
The extremist Sunni jihadist group considers Shiites as heretics and has frequently targeted them in attacks in several countries.
The last of these, a suicide bombing by a Saudi national on Friday in a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, killed 26 people and wounded 227 others.
Scud fired at Saudi base
In a new sign that three months of war in Yemen was ratcheting up, a Houthi military spokesman said the rebels had launched a Scud missile at a Saudi military base on Tuesday.
A Saudi-led military alliance has been bombing Yemen's dominant Houthi rebels and its allies in the army to dislodge them from the capital and restore the exiled president.
Despite the months of Arab air strikes backing up the Houthis' armed opponents in Yemen, 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.
"The rocket units in our heroic armed forces today launched a Scud missile at the Al Sulayyil missile base in Riyadh province ... it comes as a response to the crimes of the brutal Saudi aggression," said Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman, quoted by Yemeni state news agency Saba.
Luqman said the attack hit the base, which is about 450 km (280 miles) south of the Saudi capital Riyadh, but a previous Scud launched by Yemen's rebels earlier this month was shot down by Saudi patriot missiles despite Yemeni claims it struck its target.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)