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Homeland Security

Yemeni IS Group Claims Sana'a Mosques Blasts

by VOA News March 20, 2015

A group claiming to be a Yemeni branch of the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Sana'a that killed at least 126 people at mosques used by supporters of Shi'ite rebels.

​​The group posted an online statement Friday vowing to carry out more attacks against Shi'ite Houthis.

At least three suicide bombers blew themselves up around the time of midday prayers Friday at the Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques in the Yemeni capital. The targeted mosques are linked to the Houthi Shi'ite rebel group that controls Sana'a.

More than 250 people were wounded.

The Houthi rebels, who are loyal to former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, engaged Thursday in fierce gun battles in the southern city of Aden with a militia loyal to current President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Four pro-Saleh fighters and two militiamen were killed in the clashes.

Hadi last month escaped house arrest by the Houthi rebels who are allied with Saleh, the longtime leader who was ousted in a 2011 popular uprising. Hadi fled to Aden in a bid to re-establish his authority in the politically fractured nation.

The United Nations, Arab Gulf nations and several western countries, including the United States, have all issued statements in support of Hadi.

Meanwhile, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is reporting that it has received at its hospital in Aden 63 wounded patients - victims of the recent clashes there.

Fighting between forces loyal to Hadi and a unit loyal to Saleh erupted in Aden in the early hours of March 19 and continued throughout the day.

Most patients treated in MSF's emergency surgical unit were suffering from gunshot wounds, with 12 requiring urgent surgery, the group said in a statement issued Friday.

"We may receive more patients and it is all the more crucial that all parties to the conflict facilitate unhindered access of patients and ambulances to health structures, including to MSF's emergency unit," said Dounia Dekhili, manager of MSF's programs in Yemen.

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