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Thread: Suicide bombers kill 137 in Yemen mosque attacks; country on brink of civil war

  1. #1
    across the universe Array Olm the Water King's Avatar
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    Default Suicide bombers kill 137 in Yemen mosque attacks; country on brink of civil war

    Suicide bombers kill 137 in Yemen mosque attacks | Reuters

    Suicide bombers kill 137 in Yemen mosque attacks

    By Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mukhashaf
    SANAA/ADEN Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:22pm EDT

    (Reuters) - Suicide bombers killed at least 137 worshippers and wounded hundreds more during Friday prayers at two mosques in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, in coordinated attacks claimed by Islamic State.

    The attacks on mosques used by supporters of the Shi'ite Muslim Houthi fighters who control the city were the deadliest in a years-long campaign of violence in the country, where Washington has been waging a drone air war against a local branch of the Sunni Muslim militant group al Qaeda.

    Sectarian unrest has increased in recent months after the Iran-backed Shi'ite fighters seized the capital last year.

    Four bombers wearing explosive belts targeted worshippers in and around the crowded mosques. State news agency Saba, which is controlled by the Houthis, put the death toll at 137 and the number of wounded at 357.

    Hospitals were overwhelmed, appealing for blood donors to help treat the large number of casualties.

    A Reuters journalist at the Badr mosque counted at least 25 bloody bodies lying in the street and inside the building. One man carried a child in his arms.

    Islamic State, the al Qaeda offshoot that controls swathes of Syria and Iraq and has been attracting followers in other countries, considers Shi'ites to be heretics.

    Both groups have now rallied against the Houthis in Yemen, giving them the same enemies as the U.S.-backed government in a complex, multi-sided conflict in the Arab world's poorest country.

    "Let the polytheist Houthis know that the soldiers of the Islamic State will not rest and will not stay still until they extirpate them," the group said in a statement posted by supporters on Twitter, claiming responsibility for the attacks.

    "God willing, this operation is only a part of the coming flood."

    Among the dead was Almortada al-Mahatwary, a leading figure in Yemen's Shi'ite Zaidi sect, the Houthi-controlled al-Masirah television channel said.

    Badr mosque was hit by two bombers and two others struck a second mosque. A fifth bomber was killed when he tried to attack a mosque in Saada province, a northern Houthi stronghold, but the device went off prematurely, a security source told Reuters.

    "I was going to pray at the (Badr) mosque then I heard the first explosion, and a second later I heard another one," a witness told Reuters.

    Television footage showed young men in traditional Yemeni clothes carrying lifeless bodies, some dripping with blood, out of the mosque.

    In Washington, the White House condemned the bombings and said it could not confirm that the attackers were affiliated with Islamic State.


    Yemen has been hurtling toward civil war since last year, when the Houthis seized most of the north, including Sanaa.

    President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, a U.S. ally, fled the capital in February after a month imprisoned by the Houthis under house arrest and has set up a power base in the southern city of Aden.

    Unidentified warplanes have attacked his Aden palace for the past two days.

    Anti-aircraft guns fired on two planes that dropped bombs on an area that includes his residence on Friday. He was unharmed, sources at the presidency said.

    While Yemen is one of the main bases of al Qaeda, it has not previously been known as a major base for Islamic State, the Al Qaeda offshoot also known as ISIS or ISIL.

    Since last year, when Islamic State swept across northern Iraq and declared a caliphate to rule over all Muslims, militants in other countries have expressed their support for the group, although it is not clear if it actually directs them.

    In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there was no clear operational link between the people who carried out Friday's attacks in Yemen and Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned "the terrorist attacks" and called on all sides "to immediately cease all hostile actions and exercise maximum restraint."

    Yemen has been sliding into turmoil since its long serving ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh was toppled after "Arab Spring" protests that began in 2011. Saleh is now believed to have allied himself with the Houthi fighters that he tried to crush while president.

    Since fleeing the capital, Hadi has been trying to consolidate his hold over Aden to challenge the Houthis' ambitions to control the whole country.

    Thirteen people were killed on Thursday when forces loyal to Hadi fought their way into Aden's international airport and wrested an adjacent military base from a renegade officer, Aden governor Abdulaziz bin Habtoor said.

    (Additional reporting by Sami Aboudi in Dubai and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Peter Graff and John Stonestreet)

  2. #2
    across the universe Array Olm the Water King's Avatar
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    Yemeni president demands Houthis quit Sanaa amid new fighting | Reuters

    Yemeni president demands Houthis quit Sanaa amid new fighting

    By Mohammed Mukhashaf
    ADEN Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:31pm EDT

    (Reuters) - Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Saturday accused the Iranian-allied Houthi militia that controls the capital Sanaa of staging a coup against him, and said he would "raise Yemen's flag" in the Houthis' northern stronghold.

    In a call to arms from the southern city of Aden, where he fled last month after escaping house arrest by the Houthis, Hadi called on them to pull their forces out of state ministries, return weapons seized from the army, and quit Sanaa.

    "We shall deliver the country to safety and raise Yemen's flag on Mount Marran in Saadeh instead of the Iranian flag," he said in a televised speech, his first since reaching Aden. Iran is an ally of the Houthis, who belong to a Shi'ite Muslim sect.

    The Houthis, in a statement from their Supreme Revolutionary Committee, did not directly respond to the speech but called for a "general mobilization" of the armed forces against a "dirty war" they said was being waged by militias loyal to Hadi.

    Yemen has been hurtling towards civil war since last year when the Houthis seized Sanaa and advanced into Sunni areas, leading to clashes with local tribes and energizing a southern separatist movement.

    Hadi's flight to Aden has raised the prospect of armed confrontation between rival governments based in the north and south, creating chaos that could be exploited by the Yemen-based regional wing of al Qaeda.

    Fighting is spreading across the country, and 137 people were killed on Friday in the bombings of two Shi'ite mosques in Sanaa. They were claimed by Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and said it was also behind an attack that killed 23 people in Tunisia on Wednesday.


    Hadi held open the door to a negotiated settlement with a call for the Houthis and other groups to attend peace talks in Saudi Arabia.

    He said Yemen must return to the political situation in place before the Houthis took control of Sanaa, restoring its constitution and implementing the results of a national dialogue process and Gulf-sponsored political transition.

    In his speech, he denounced the Houthis as "coup plotters" and said he wanted to confront sectarianism. Addressing Houthi accusations that he planned to back a southern secessionist movement, he said his flight to Aden had been intended to preserve the country's unity.

    Unidentified warplanes have bombed Hadi's Aden headquarters in recent days, and on Saturday forces loyal to the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is now allied to the Houthis, moved units to Taiz, 150 km (100 miles) northwest of Aden.

    In a reflection of the deteriorating security situation, Washington was withdrawing the last 100 of the special forces troops it had deployed to Yemen to conduct operations against al Qaeda and allied groups, CNN reported, citing sources in the region.

    Washington has been waging a drone war against the militants, who have alarmed Western and Gulf countries with their efforts to bomb international airliners and launch cross-border raids into top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

    On Friday, al Qaeda militants killed 20 soldiers during a brief occupation of al-Houta, the capital of Lahj province, which is only 30 km (20 miles) from Aden, before being driven back by the army.

    There were also clashes between the Houthis and local tribes in the oil-producing area on the border of the Marib and al-Bayda provinces, which left 12 dead, according to tribal sources. Gunmen fired on anti-Houthi protesters in Taiz on Saturday, but no casualties were reported.

    Later on Saturday, Hadi appointed health minister Riyadh Yassin as acting foreign minister, Al Jazeera news reported.

    (Additional reporting by Mohammed Ghobari and Omar Fahmy in Cairo.; Writing by Angus McDowall in Riyadh; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Mark Trevelyan)

  3. #3
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    Yemen has been in a state of low level civil war for a while now. I read somewhere that it has the highest number of unregistered guns/per person of any country in the world.

    Oh well, at least I don't have any of those nut cases living near me...yet...

  4. #4


    Thanks for the link, SoB!

    I saw it again in this morning's paper, which included a truly heartbreaking photo of a dead child with chunks literally missing from him.

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