Update: Death toll rises to 32 in Yemen mosque attack. Islamic State group claimed twin bombings near a Shia mosque in capital Sanaa on Wednesday.
The suicide bomber blew himself up inside the mosque during the evening prayer and a car bomb was detonated minutes later outside the entrance as people came to help the wounded. Medical officials said at least 32 people were killed and 92 wounded, and the rebel website said that figure was “not final.”
Witnesses said the car bomb exploded while people were carrying out the wounded from inside the mosque, adding to the casualties. The explosions left body parts and bloodied floors in the mosque frequented with both Sunni and Shia Muslims, according to reports.
A Yemeni affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the twin bomb attacks. In a statement on social media, they said that a man identified as Qusai al-Sanaani blew himself inside the mosque in the northern district of Jarraf after Salat-ul-Maghrib. The attack was to “avenge Muslims against the Rafidah (Shiites),” said the statement.
The attack came hours after the International Committee of the Red Cross said a gunman killed two of its Yemeni employees in the war-torn country’s rebel-held north in a deliberate attack. The pair had been traveling north of Sanaa with two other fellows in vehicles clearly marked with Red Cross emblem.
“Sadly, two of our staff were brutally killed on their way back from Saada to Sanaa,” said Rima Kamal, an ICRC spokewoman in Yemen. The unidentified gunman opened fire on the two vehicles after stopping them in Amran province, which has been under Houthi control since last year.
The Geneva-based organization has stepped up its relief activities in Yemen since the rebels entered Aden in March prompting Yemen’s President Mansour Hadi to flee to neighboring Saudi Arabia, which has led a military intervention to restore him to power.
Yemen has been entangled in violence since Houthis swept down from their stronghold Saada and captured the capital Sanaa last September. The rebels are fighting alongside army units loyal to former President Abdullah Saleh against the forces loyal to exiled President Mansour Hadi, as well as southern separatists and local militia.
According to United Nations, more than 2,000 civilians have been killed in the ongoing conflict in the country and thousands have been homeless as their homes are destroyed. Yemen mosque attack IMAGE/news.yahoo