48 Yemeni Soldiers Dead In IS-Claimed Bombing

48 Yemeni Soldiers Dead In IS-Claimed Bombing
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A suicide bomber from the Islamic State  group’s Yemen-based affiliate killed at least 48 Yemeni soldiers in Aden on Sunday, the latest in a string of deadly attacks against recruits in the country’s second city.

Security officials said that preliminary investigations showed the blast was the work of a bomber wearing an explosives-laden vest. The attack took place as soldiers lined up to collect their salaries, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

“The number of those killed has risen to 48, while 84 others were wounded,”  said the Aden health chief Abdel Nasser al-Wali.

Images from the blast scene showed blood stains and scattered shoes across the sandy ground.

The IS affliate claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on IS-run Aamaq news agency. It identified the bomber as Abu Hashim al-Radfani and published a photo of him smiling and wearing a white vest as he stood next to the group’s black flag. It also posted photos it said were of the blast that killed nearly 70.

IS and its jihadist rival Al-Qaeda have taken advantage of a conflict between the government and Yemen’s Huthi 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 Huthis last year.

But Al-Qaeda has distanced itself from the December 10 attack, claiming that it tends to avoid “the shedding of any Muslim blood” while focusing on fighting the “Americans and their allies.”

Al-Qaeda has long been the dominant jihadist force in Yemen, located next to oil-flush Saudi Arabia and key shipping lanes, but experts say IS is seeking to supplant its extremist rival.

 

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