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IS claims car bombing attacks against Houthi in Yemen's capital, 18 killed

2015-June-18       Source: Xinhuanet.com

The Islamic States (IS) group said Wednesday that it carried out four car bombing attacks against the Shiite Houthi group in Yemen's capital of Sanaa, which killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens.

The Islamic States (IS) group said Wednesday that it carried out four car bombing attacks against the Shiite Houthi group in Yemen's capital of Sanaa, which killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens.

IS said in a statement posted on Twitter that its soldiers used four car bombs in the attacks against the Houthi sites, one outside the office of the Houthi political bureau, the highest decision making body, in northern Yemen, and the rest near three mosques where Houthi followers were praying.

Security sources told Xinhua that 18 Houthi supporters were killed while they were holding a ceremony on the holy month of Ramadan organized by the Houthi group near the office, and dozens of people were wounded in the blasts at the mosques.

On March 20, IS suicide bombers attacked two mosques in Sanaa and Houthi headquarters in the northern Saada province, killing at least 137 people, the most deadliest attacks in Yemen for decades.

Meanwhile, Yemen is home to the Sunni al-Qaida offshoot, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which intensified attacks against the Shiite Houthi group since September when the Houthis took over Sanaa and started to advance into the southern regions where AQAP is active.

The blasts happened when the Saudi-led coalition forces carried out air strikes against the Houthi group as delegates in Geneva achieved no breakthrough after two days of peace talks.

The UN-sponsored peace talks kicked off on Monday with the participation of all Yemeni factions, aiming to push for a truce during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

However, there was no progress despite the shuttle diplomacy of UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

"As long as we have not reached the point where the Yemenis agree together, (to talk to the UN) will be very difficult," the envoy said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ahmed described the consultations as "an important start towards the return to a political process," saying "after overcoming great challenges, having now both delegations here in Geneva is a great achievement and we should not underestimate the significance of this event."

"I hope that the Yemeni sides will utilize the consultations to share ideas, in particular about how to alleviate the humanitarian situation and to de-escalate the violence," he said.

About 35 people were killed when warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition forces bombed a civilian convoy in Yemen's southern province of Lahj on Wednesday, a Yemeni government official told Xinhua.

"A number of civilian vehicles carrying displaced people were hit by mistake while travelling on a road linking between Aden province and neighboring southern Lahj province, killing about 35 people at the scene," the local government official based in Lahj said on condition of anonymity.

The fighter jets also struck Houthi militia and military camps loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa and northern province of Dhamar.

Yemen has mired in political gridlock since 2011 when mass protests forced former President Ali Abdullash Saleh to step down. The three-year reconciliation talks failed to resolve the crisis but create huge power vacuum.

The Shiite Houthi group seized the capital Sanaa by force in September, 2014 and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia in late March.

An Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia responded to a request by Hadi to intervene and launched air strikes on Houthi targets since March 26.

The UN aid agencies said more than 2,200 people were killed and 11,000 wounded in the air strikes and ground battles between the Houthis and pro-government tribal fighters since March 26.

About one million people were displaced and more than 20 million need humanitarian aids, they said.

Editor: Chan

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