At least 67 people were killed in Yemen on Thursday when two suicide bombers, suspected to be members of al-Qaeda, blew themselves up on a group of Houthi rebels in the capital Sanaa and a military camp in Hadhramout south-east of the country.
The bombing that struck the Shiite Houthi rebels in the capital killed at least 47 and wounded dozens. The Houthis were congregating to stage a demonstration, according to sources close to the rebels.
Body parts were scattered across Tahrir Square and pools of blood formed on the asphalt after the blast, which also wounded at least 75 people.
In eastern Yemen, where the militant group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has waged repeated attacks on army installations and government facilities in recent months, at least 20 soldiers were killed in a suicide car bombing and gun attack on an army outpost, state news agency SABA reported.
The attacks occurred just hours after a showdown between the Houthis and President Abd-Rabbu Mansour forced Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, whose appointment on Tuesday under a power-sharing deal signed last month had angered Houthi leaders, to turn down the post.
The Houthis have emerged as Yemen’s main power brokers since their paramilitary forces seized the capital on Sept. 21, following weeks of anti-government demonstrations.
A policeman guarding a local bank near Tahrir Square in central Sanaa said a man apparently wearing a suicide belt approached the Houthi checkpoint. “He then exploded amidst the (Houthi) security and ordinary people nearby,” he told Reuters.
U.S. ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller condemned the Sanaa attack and urged Yemenis to implement the power-sharing accord, which aims to resolve a decade-long Houthi insurgency and pull the country out of a crisis precipitated by the 2011 uprising that forced veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
A southern secessionist movement and the AQAP onslaught on security forces has already stretched the resources of the impoverished country of 25 million and alarmed neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, and other conservative Gulf Arab states.
“The Yemeni people have lived with senseless violence for far too long and the recent increase in hostilities against innocent civilians only undermines the progress Yemen has made since the 2011 revolution,” the U.S. embassy said in a statement posted on its website. “Yemen’s challenges are political and therefore must be resolved through political solutions.”
Western and Gulf Arab countries are worried that instability in Yemen could strengthen al Qaeda and have supported a U.N.-backed political transition since 2012 led by Hadi meant to shepherd the country to stability after decades of autocracy.
(With AFP)SHOW MORE