Middle East

Yemen suicide bombing in Sanaa mosque 'kills 25'

A skullcap lying on the ground at the al-Balili mosque Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The first explosion hit the inside of the mosque, with the second targeting worshippers as they rushed outside

A suicide bomb attack on a mosque in Yemen's capital Sanaa has left at least 25 people dead and wounded at least 36.

Two explosions struck the al-Balili mosque as worshippers were performing prayers for the Eid al-Adha festival.

The so-called Islamic State (IS) militant group said it had carried out the bombing.

The attack comes two days after Yemen's President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi returned to the southern city of Aden from exile in Saudi Arabia.

He had fled in March following gains by Houthi rebels, who have since been targeted by a Saudi-led coalition.

The coalition, along with loyalist forces, have pushed back the Houthis from some areas, including Aden.

However the Houthis - Shia Muslim rebels from the north of the country - still control the capital.

The UN says almost 4,900 people, including more than 2,200 civilians, have been killed in Yemen in fighting on the ground and air strikes since 26 March.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption On Monday Houthis celebrated the first anniversary of their takeover of Sanaa
Image copyright AFP
Image caption President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi returned from exile on Tuesday

The Balili mosque is close to a police academy in Sanaa.

One suicide bomber reportedly detonated explosives inside the mosque and, as people fled, a second bomber set off explosives at the entrance.

"The situation is very painful and blood is everywhere," a local resident told Reuters.

Sanaa has been hit by a series of bomb attacks, many of them claimed by IS, which follows its own extreme version of Sunni Islam.

Eid al-Adha - the festival of sacrifice - is celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

It honours the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son as an act of submission to God's will.

Why is there fighting in Yemen?

  • Northern Shia Muslim rebels known as Houthis, backed by forces loyal to Yemen's ex-president, took over parts of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa, and forced the government into exile in March
  • The rebels accused the government of corruption and of planning to marginalise their heartland within a proposed federal system
  • Sunni neighbour Saudi Arabia, fearing a Shia takeover of Yemen, is leading a coalition in a military campaign to repel the rebels and restore the exiled government

The war the world forgot?

Yemen's humanitarian catastrophe

Who is fighting whom?

Meeting the Houthis and their enemies

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