An ISIS suicide bomber killed at least 54 people on Monday at a military recruitment center in Aden, Yemen.
Reports reveal that a pick-up truck that was believed to be delivering food accelerated into the recruitment center, located close to two schools and a mosque, and exploded well within a crowd of people. Witnesses claim to have seen bodies and their various parts flung about in what they view as a massacre. The Islamic extremist group ISIS has since claimed the attack saying that it was executed by one of their fighters who had targeted the recruitment center.
The truck driver and bomber has been identified as Ahmed Seif. The Director of the Ministry of Health in Aden, Khidra Labour, stated that the body count had increased to 54. Just less than 70 have been injured, 30 of whom have been rushed to hospitals in the area.
Ahmed al-Fatih, a worker at the military center, claims that security was not taken into consideration as much as it should have been, given the ease at which the bomber entered the center.
Egypt has condemned the attack, which according to Ahram Online, is one of the worst the city has seen in a year. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Abu Zeid, expressed his support for the Yemeni people and a fortified solidarity against terrorism with the help of the international community.
Conflict in Yemen
The Middle Eastern country is a site of frequent clashes between the internationally recognized government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi rebels. Although there has been a conflict between the Yemeni government and Houthis since 2004, the latter’s hold on Yemen’s northern governorate of Saada, expanded over the years, moving south towards the second-largest city, Aden.
In September 2014, Houthis had taken over Sanaa, the largest city in the country, allegedly assisted by Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was overthrown in 2011. However, the conflict is further complicated by Islamic extremist groups, al-Qaeda and ISIS, who are taking advantage of the situation.
Last year, al-Qaeda had taken over Yemen’s fifth largest city of Mukalla but were driven away by about 2000 Yemeni and Emirati troops in April 2016. ISIS reportedly claimed its first attack in Yemen in March 2015 which consisted of suicide bombings in two Zaydi Shia mosques in Sanaa killing more than 140 people.
Also, the conflict in Yemen has seen the participation of various foreign nations. In 2015, Saudi Arabia formed an Arab States coalition to defeat Houthi rebels in the country, which currently includes the following nations: Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, and Senegal.
The U.S. admitted in May to have deployed a small number of troops on the ground. Pentagon spokesperson, Jeff Davis, reported that the U.S. had also increased their airstrikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He acknowledged that the U.S. intervened to support its interests claiming that it does not help them that a terrorist organization be in charge of a port city.
U.S. allies France and the U.K. have also supplied the Arab states coalition with weapons and intelligence. With all these fingers in the pie, it is no wonder that Yemen, deemed one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, is experiencing such a complex conflict that the United Nations says has claimed “at least” 10 000 lives.
Source: Belfast Telegraph