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Four Islamic State attacks leave 22 dead in two cities

By Reuters and People. in Aden and Sanaa, Yemen (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-08 07:48

Suicide bombings mark group's first known direct assault on government

Suicide bombers with the Islamic State group killed 22 people on Tuesday in attacks on Yemen's government and its Gulf Arab coalition ally in the port city of Aden and on a Houthi-run mosque in the capital, Sanaa, the jihadist group and state media said.

It was the first known direct Islamic State assault on the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in the country's civil war in March against Iranian-backed Houthi forces who had seized large areas of the country.

Four coordinated Islamic State suicide bombings killed 11 Yemeni and four United Arab Emirates soldiers in Aden, Yemeni officials and the UAE state news agency said.

In Sanaa, seven people were killed in the attack on the al-Nour mosque in the al-Nahda district of the Houthi-controlled capital, the Houthi-run state news agency said.

Claiming responsibility for the Sanaa bombing, the Islamic State group said that dozens of Houthis preparing to go to the battlefront had been killed or wounded.

The Sunni militant Islamic State is hostile to both the US-backed Yemeni government and Arab coalition allies, as well as to the Shiite Muslim Houthis in Yemen's complex conflict.

The Yemeni government returned from exile in Saudi Arabia and set up temporary headquarters in Aden's al-Qasr hotel last month after Gulf Arab and Yemeni troops retook the major southern port city from Houthi forces.

The party of Yemen's former president said in an e-mailed statement that it accepts a peace plan brokered by the UN in talks in Oman.

The General People's Congress is the party of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, to whom many of the army units fighting alongside the northern Houthi militia against forces backed by Gulf states remain loyal.

"An official source at the General People's Congress reiterated the party's fast position on ending hostilities and raising the blockade and on a peaceful solution to Yemen's crisis," the party said in the statement.

President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, supported by a Saudi-led military coalition and allied to local militias, has ruled out an agreement until the Houthis and Saleh's forces implement a UN resolution by quitting cities and surrendering arms.

Islamic State jihadists had until now refrained from openly targeting Yemen's government and the Saudi-led coalition now fighting together to roll back Houthi domination over large areas of the Arabian Peninsula state.

Vice-President Khaled Bahah, who is also prime minister, and Cabinet colleagues escaped unharmed from what he said were car bomb attacks in Aden, two of which targeted the al-Qasr hotel.

"Today's attack does not affect anybody. On the contrary, it binds us together more," he told a Cabinet meeting afterward in comments carried by Dubai-based al-Arabiya television.

"We had come here to work and we know that there are security gaps. ... But this now prompts us to do more in the framework of reinforcing security in a bigger way by the general security services and armed forces."

The United Arab Emirates state news agency WAM said suicide bombers also targeted two Gulf Arab military sites in Aden.

 Four Islamic State attacks leave 22 dead in two cities

Yemeni Houthi rebels check the Al-Nour mosque in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, after the Islamic State group targeted the building in a suicide bombing on Wednesday, leaving seven dead. Mohammed Huwais / Agence France-Presse

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