A suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State terror group 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 terror 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 site 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, Islamic State said the attack targeted “the apostate Yemeni army” and named the terrorist as Abu Ali al-Adeni.
A bomb planted at the gate of a nearby army base detonated shortly afterward but caused no casualties, local officials said. The attacks follow gains by Yemeni government forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, who mounted an offensive against al-Qaida terrorists in towns on the south coast beginning last month.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of chaos in Yemen since its civil war began last year to win control over swaths of southern and eastern Yemen. Yemeni forces pushed it out of the base in the southeastern port city of Mukalla and have stepped up a crackdown on terrorists, killing 16 in a raid outside the city backed up by Gulf Arab helicopters on Sunday.