Suicide bomber kills at least 48 Yemeni soldiers in Aden

A Yemeni man surveying the site of yesterday's suicide bomb blast. The attack comes eight days after a similar bombing at Al-Sawlaban base claimed by ISIS which killed 48 soldiers and wounded 29 others.
A Yemeni man surveying the site of yesterday's suicide bomb blast. The attack comes eight days after a similar bombing at Al-Sawlaban base claimed by ISIS which killed 48 soldiers and wounded 29 others. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ADEN • A suicide bomber killed at least 48 Yemeni soldiers in Aden yesterday, the latest in a string of deadly bomb attacks against recruits in the war-torn country's second city.

Military officials and medics said many others were wounded in the attack that targeted a crowd of servicemen collecting their salaries near a base in north-eastern Aden.

Eighty-four people were injured and the Aden health chief, Mr Abdel Nasser al-Wali, told Agence France-Presse the death toll was likely to mount due to "critical cases".

The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who immersed himself among soldiers crowding outside the house of the head of special security forces in Aden, Colonel Nasser Sarea, in Al-Arish district, near Al-Sawlaban base.

Col Sarea said the bomber "took advantage of the gathering and detonated his explosives among them".

The attack came eight days after a similar bombing at Al-Sawlaban claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) killed 48 soldiers and wounded 29 others.

Yemeni authorities have for months pressed a campaign against radical militants who remain active in the south and east of the impoverished Arabian peninsula country.

ISIS and its Islamist rival Al-Qaeda have taken advantage of a conflict between the government and Yemen's Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa, to bolster their presence across much of the south. The two extremist groups have carried out a spate of attacks in Aden, Yemen's second city and headquarters of the internationally recognised government whose forces retook the port city from the Houthis last year.

A Saudi-led coalition has, since March last year, supported loyalist forces fighting the Houthis. The Arab coalition later turned its firepower also at Sunni extremists, supporting forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in their bid to flush extremists out of south Yemen. The war has killed more than 7,000 people, about half of them civilians.

In another development yesterday, a Canadian female tourist was among seven people reported to have been killed by gunmen who opened fire on police in southern Jordan.

Four of the dead were policemen and two others were Jordanian civilians, said a security source who declined to be named.

The source added that nine others were wounded in the attack in Karak roughly, 120km south of the capital, Amman.

Several incidents over the past year have jolted the Arab kingdom, which has been relatively unscathed by the uprisings, civil wars and Islamist militancy that have swept the Middle East since 2011.

Jordanian officials worry about radical Islam's growing profile in the kingdom and support in impoverished areas for militant groups.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2016, with the headline 'Suicide bomber kills at least 48 Yemeni soldiers in Aden'. Print Edition | Subscribe