Suicide bombings aim to drag Yemen into ‘chaos’ –

Posted: Saturday, March 21, 2015

Aden: Yemen’s embattled president said suicide bombings that killed at least 142 people at Al Houthi mosques were aimed at dragging the country into “chaos, violence and internal fighting”.

Daesh claimed responsibility for Friday’s attacks on two mosques in the capital Sana’a and Al Houthi militia’s northern stronghold of Sa’ada.

President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has taken refuge in the southern city of Aden having escaped house arrest in Al Houthi-controlled capital last month.

In a letter to the families of the victims, which also included 351 wounded, he condemned the attacks as “terrorist, criminal and cowardly”.

“Such heinous attacks could only be done by the enemies of life,” who want to drag Yemen into “chaos, violence and internal fighting,” said the letter released by his office late Friday.

“Shiite extremism, represented by the armed Al Houthi militia, and Sunni extremism, represented by Al Qaida, are two sides of the same coin, who do not wish good and stability for Yemen and its people,” Hadi wrote.

Al Houthis seized Sana’a in September, and have since tightened their grip on government installations, aided by forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

But in their push to widen their control zone to the south, they faced a fierce resistance by Sunni tribes allied with Al Qaida militants, who are strongly active in Yemen.

The killings were the first claimed by Daesh in Yemen and represent a strong show of force by the group in a country where rival Al Qaida is the most prominent militant organisation.

Al Qaida, however, swiftly distanced itself from Friday’s bombings, insisting it does not target mosques.

Hadi has declared Aden the temporary capital of Yemen, given that Al Houthis still control Sana’a. Meanwhile, Al Qaida militants captured the capital of a province in southern Yemen late on Friday, killing about 20 soldiers, before they were driven out by the army, local officials and residents said.

Fighters from Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were forced to withdraw late on Friday night from Al Houta after holding it for several hours, the officials and residents said.

Two army brigades then entered the city, capital of Lahj Province.

There were no reports of any militant casualties.

Yemen has been hurtling towards civil war since last year when Al Houthis advanced from their northern heartland, further undermining the country’s tenuous internal security and creating more space in which AQAP can operate. In the past two days, unidentified warplanes have bombed the palace in Aden that Hadi has been using.


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