At least seven killed in Yemen attack claimed by Islamic State

At least seven people were killed Thursday in an attack claimed by the Islamic State extremist militia on a Yemeni government army compound in the south-eastern city of Mukalla.

Three back-to-back explosions, including a car bombing, targeted the facility located near the city’s port, witnesses said.

At least 10 people were injured, they added. The casualties included civilians.

In a statement circulated by its supporters online, Islamic State said the attack had been carried out by one of its suicide bombers.

The statement could not be independently verified.

In recent months, Islamic State has taken credit for deadly attacks in war-wracked Yemen.

Shortly after Thursday’s blasts, Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher visited Mukalla that was recaptured from al-Qaeda insurgents weeks ago, a local official said.

The premier came to Mukalla to get first-hand information about its needs after “al-Qaeda elements” were driven from the city, the official added on condition of anonymity.

In late April, forces loyal to Saudi-backed Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi retook control of Mukalla from al-Qaeda.

The extremist group took advantage of the civil war in Yemen between mainly Shiite Houthi rebels and pro-Hadi forces to seize the city a year ago.

Yemen is home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), seen as one of the terrorist network's most active branches in the world.

AQAP has expanded its long-standing presence in the impoverished country during the civil war, joining local forces in the fight against the Houthis while also seizing control of territory behind their lines.

Yemen's conflict has intensified since March 2015 when the rebels advanced on the southern city of Aden, prompting Saudi Arabia and Sunni fellow allies to start an air campaign in Yemen against the group.

Saudi Arabia fears that the rebels will give its regional rival, Shiite Iran, a strategic foothold on the Arabian Peninsula.

Last update: Thu, 12/05/2016 - 12:59

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