Deadly bombings in Yemen as ‘Islamic State’ targets Shiite mosques
SANAA - The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for multiple bombings that targeted mosques and offices of Shiite Huthis rebels in the Yemeni capital Wednesday, killing at least 31 people.
In a statement posted online, IS said four car bombs targeted two worship places, the rebels' politburo headquarters and the house of a rebel leader.
Security sources and witnesses said earlier that five blasts, including three car bombs, hit four Shiite mosques and the house of a rebel official.
Medics and witnesses said at least 31 people were killed Wednesday and dozens wounded in five simultaneous blasts at Shiite mosques and a house in the rebel-held Yemeni capital.
Two car bombs targeted mosques, while a third hit the house of the head of the Huthi rebels' politburo, Saleh al-Sammad, witnesses and security officials said.
Among the mosques hit by car bombs was Al-Hashush, which was targeted in March in a series of suicide bombings against Shiite houses of worship claimed by the Islamic state group that killed 142 people.
The other car bomb hit the Al-Quba Al-Khadra mosque in the central Hayel district, which is frequented by Huthi supporters.
Explosive devices also went off at two other mosques -- Al-Kibssi and Al-Tayssir in Al-Ziraa district, with all the attacks timed to coincide with Muslim sunset prayers.
Witnesses said the bombs were planted near the entrances to the mosques, and exploded as worshippers flocked in for the prayers, on the eve of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
IS, a radical Sunni Muslim organisation, considers Shiites to be heretics.
The Huthis overran Sanaa in September and have since expanded their control across several regions, aided by troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
They pushed UN-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi into exile after advancing in March onto his refuge in the southern port city of Aden, triggering ongoing battles with southern fighters.
In March, Saudi Arabia assembled an Arab coalition that launched an air campaign against the rebels.
On Wednesday, the United Nations was scramblubg to get peace talks in Geneva moving, with the exiled government and the Iran-backed rebels accusing each other of trying to sabotage the process.