Middle East

Yemen bomb: Ibb attack on Houthis 'kills 33'

A soldier is seen outside a cultural centre following a suicide attack in Ibb, Yemen, 31 December 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The bomb targeted a centre where Houthis had gathered to celebrate Prophet Muhammad's birthday

A suicide bombing in Yemen's southern city of Ibb has killed at least 33 people, medical sources say.

The blast appeared to be targeted at a cultural centre where members of the Houthi rebel group were gathered for a religious celebration.

The governor of Ibb was thought to be among the injured, reports said.

The Houthis, a Shia Muslim group, overran Yemen's capital Sanaa earlier this year, and have extended their influence in the following months.

They have clashed with several tribal and Sunni militia groups, and have been fighting Sunni militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) since they overran the AQAP stronghold Radaa in October.

No group has said it carried out Wednesday's attack. However, the Houthis have blamed AQAP for previous attacks.

Mohammed Abdel-Baki, a spokesman for the Houthis, described the suicide bombing as a "massacre".

The Houthis belong to the minority Zaidi Shia community. They have staged periodic uprisings since 2004 to win greater autonomy for Saada, the northern Yemeni province that is their heartland.

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