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Islamic State Attack Kills at Least 40 Military Recruits in Yemen

The conflict in Yemen is a dire, tangled mess, with IS, al-Qaeda, government troops backed by United Arab Emirates, and a Saudi-led coalition backed by the US all mounting regular attacks.

by Reuters and VICE News
May 23 2016, 10:37am

A previous car bombing in Aden on January 28, 2016. Photo via EPA

A suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State (IS) killed at least 40 army recruits and injured 60 others in the Yemeni city of Aden on Monday, medics said, in one of the deadliest attacks yet on the beleaguered government.

The attack occurred as the recruits lined up to enlist for military service at the home of a senior general in the Khor Maksar district of Aden, officials said.

The port city serves as the temporary capital of Yemen's Saudi-backed administration while it seeks to seize back the capital Sanaa from the armed Houthi group.

Local news website Aden al-Ghad showed pictures of soldiers picking up bloodied comrades in uniform from the ground and witnesses reported seeing ambulances with blaring sirens collecting the wounded.

In a written statement posted to its social media accounts, IS said the attack targeted "the apostate Yemeni army" and named the attacker as Abu Ali al-Adeni. A bomb planted at the gate of a nearby army base detonated afterwards but caused no casualties, local officials said.

Related: The Islamic State Just Rocked Yemen with Suicide Car Bombs

The attacks follow gains by Yemeni government forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, who mounted an offensive on al-Qaeda militants in southern towns beginning last month.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of chaos in Yemen since its civil war began last year to win control over swathes of southern and eastern parts of the country.

Their militant rivals in Yemen's branch of IS have carried out a series of suicide attacks on all parties to Yemen's tangled conflict, killing 25 police recruits outside the southeastern port city of Mukalla this month.

Yemeni forces pushed al-Qaeda out of its base in that city and have stepped up a crackdown on militants, killing 16 in a raid outside the city backed up by Gulf Arab helicopters on Sunday.

More than 3,200 civilians have been killed in Yemen over the past year, since a Saudi-led coalition starting bombing the country in an attempt to dislodge Shia Houthi rebel forces and fighters loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, with whom they are allied. Though the Houthis were driven from Aden, they remain in control of many of Yemen's major populated areas.

Hundreds have fallen victim to the shells, mines, and bullets of the Houthis and their allies. But the UN estimates that the majority of the recorded deaths resulted from coalition airstrikes, which have also created a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Saudi-led force has enjoyed uninterrupted intelligence and logistical support from the US, including the offloading of tens of millions of pounds of fuel from tanker planes to coalition jets over Saudi airspace.

IS has struck Aden on several occasions, including a car bomb attack last year that killed the province's governor.

Watch the VICE News documentary, The Siege Of Aden:

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Related: The Rise of the Islamic State in Yemen

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