Suicide bombings in Yemen's capital kill and injure hundreds

Three bombs exploded near Zaydi Shiite mosques in the Yemeni capital during prayer service, killing children and a religious cleric. The suicide bombers who caused the attack are affiliated with the Islamic State.

By Elizabeth Shim

SANAA, Yemen, March 20 (UPI) -- Three suicide bombings in Yemen's capital of Sanaa targeted hundreds of people on Friday.

The attack is the deadliest against civilians since January, when a car bomb detonated and killed over 30 bystanders outside a police academy.


Update 1:00 p.m. EST:

At least 100 people were killed and hundreds of others injured after three suicide bombers believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State targeted two mosques in Sanaa.

The Independent confirmed that it was the IS, and not another Al Qaeda affiliate, that was responsible for the attack. Conflicting reports have emerged after the tragedy, one source said 126 are dead while another state television reported 137 dead, and 345 wounded.

Al Jazeera reported 90 people have been killed and 280 injured.

The New York Times reported the suicide bombers attacked two Zaydi Shiite mosques in the Yemeni capital during prayer service. Witnesses said children were included in the body count. Al Jazeera reported a prominent religious figure, the imam of one of the two mosques, was among those killed.


Both mosques are support bases for the Zaidi Shia-led Houthi rebel movement, reported the BBC. The rebels took control of Sanaa in September but have been the target of attacks from a powerful Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen and rebel supporters have been victims of militant violence.

Witnesses said one suicide bomber entered the building and detonated a bomb before dozens of people. As survivors tried to escape through the main gates, a second bomber was waiting.

A third blast was heard, reported Al Jazeera.

The BBC reported a rebel-run television network showed volunteers rushing to carry away bleeding victims. Other bodies were lined up inside the mosque.

Sunni extremists inside Yemen are against the Zaydi Shiites, or rebels, despite the fact they comprise a third of Yemen's population. Sunnis believe the rebels are heretics.

The bombings follow an air raid against Yemen's president who fled Sanaa in February, after rebels placed the president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, under house arrest.

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