28 dead in ISIS-claimed attack in Yemen

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Sanaa – An attack on leaders of Houthi Ansarullah Movement in Yemen’s capital claimed by the Daesh (ISIS) group killed at least 28 people, medics said Tuesday, the latest assault by the extremists.

Yemen was previously the preserve of Daesh’s militant rival Al Qaeda, which controls swathes of the south and east, but since March the group has claimed a string of high-profile attacks.

The car bomb late on Monday targeted movements chief brothers Faysal and Hamid Jayache during a gathering to mourn the death of a family member, a security source said.

Eight women were among the dead.

Houthi fighters closed down the surrounding area in the centre of Sanaa after the attack, only allowing through emergency services to help evacuate the victims, witnesses said.

The explosion blew a crater in the road, took chunks out of nearby walls and left debris strewn across the street.

In a statement posted online, Daesh said it had organised the attack on what it called a “Shia nest”.

ISIS, which on Monday marked the first anniversary of the declaration of its “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, launched its Yemen campaign in March with a series of bombings of Shia mosques that killed 142 people.

The deadly attacks have overshadowed the operations of Daesh’s rival in Yemen, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Daesh is “in the process of supplanting AQAP, which is becoming just one of a number of forces in the Sunni tribal camp in southern Yemen,” said Mathieu Guidere, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Toulouse in France.

The Iran-backed Ansarullah has seized vast swathes of the country since launching an offensive in July 2014, forcing President Abderabbo Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Neither peace talks in Geneva nor a Saudi-led air campaign begun in March has driven them from power, and they remain locked in battle with pro-government fighters, ISIS, AQAP and southern separatists.

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