At least 60 killed in suicide blast targeting Yemeni army recruits

A wrecked vehicle and debris at the site of the car bombing at an army recruitment centre in Aden yesterday. ISIS has claimed the attack on its official propaganda outlet.
A wrecked vehicle and debris at the site of the car bombing at an army recruitment centre in Aden yesterday. ISIS has claimed the attack on its official propaganda outlet.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ADEN • A suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has killed at least 60 people at an army recruitment centre in Aden, in the latest militant attack to hit the Yemeni city.

The director-general of Yemen's Health Ministry in Aden, Mr Al-Khader Laswar, said that at least 67 other people were wounded in the attack in the city's Mansoura district. Aden is the temporary base of Yemen's internationally recognised government, which has been battling Iran-backed rebels as well as militants across the country for more than a year.

Security officials said that the attacker drove an explosives-laden vehicle into a gathering of army recruits at a school in northern Aden early yesterday.

Although the school was locked as recruits registered inside, the attacker drove in when the gate was opened for a food delivery vehicle, officials said.

Witnesses said some recruits were buried when a roof collapsed following the blast, which also damaged nearby buildings.

Aden has seen a wave of bombings and shootings targeting officials and security forces. Attacks are often claimed by militants from either Al-Qaeda or ISIS, which have both taken advantage of the chaos in Yemen to make gains in southern and south-eastern regions.

ISIS claimed yesterday's bombing on its official propaganda outlet.

The Yemeni authorities have trained hundreds of soldiers in Aden over the past two months as part of operations to retake neighbouring southern provinces from militants.

Earlier this month, Yemeni government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition entered Abyan's provincial capital Zinjibar.

Troops retook other towns across Abyan but have been met by fierce resistance in the key Al-Qaeda stronghold of Al-Mahfid, security sources said. The militants are still present in areas surrounding the recaptured towns and control large parts of the neighbouring Shabwa province, the sources said.

The Arab coalition battling Iran-backed rebels in Yemen has also been providing troops with air cover throughout their war against the militants.

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March last year and helped government troops push the rebels out of Aden and four other southern provinces.

More than 6,600 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Yemen since March last year and more than 80 per cent of the population has been left in need of humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'At least 60 killed in suicide blast targeting Yemeni army recruits'. Print Edition | Subscribe