IS suicide bomb kills 48 Yemen soldiers in payday queue

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Soldiers gather the site of a suicide bomb at a base in the southern city of Aden, Yemen, 18 December.Image source, AP

A suicide bomber has killed at least 48 soldiers and wounded another 84 in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden.

The soldiers were queuing up to receive salaries near al-Sawlaban military base when the attacker struck.

The bomber immersed himself in the crowd of soldiers at the base in al-Arish district, an official said.

So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the attack, similar to one on the same base days ago that killed another 48 soldiers.

In August, a suicide attack in the city claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) killed at least 70 people at an army recruiting centre in the city.

Aden is controlled by various factions loyal to the internationally recognised government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. They are battling the Shia Houthi rebels and their allies, who seized Yemen's capital Sanaa in 2014 and later much of north-western Yemen.

IS and al-Qaeda have taken advantage of the conflict to bolster their presence in the south of the country and IS has in recent years attempted to supplant al-Qaeda as the dominant jihadist group there.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The bomb targeted soldiers queuing for their pay

The conflict in Yemen has killed more than 7,000 people, most of them civilians, according to the UN, and exacted a devastating toll on the population.

A Saudi-led air coalition supported by the US and UK has carried out a widespread bombing campaign, and is accused by international observers of targeting residential areas.

The scale of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is enormous - more than three million people have left their homes and 18.8 million people - 69% of the population - need humanitarian assistance.