Blast hits outside residence of Yemeni president
A car bombing has rocked the external entrance of Al-Ma’asheeq residence where the internationally recognized Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Hadi is living in the seaside port city of Aden on Thursday, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
The channel said the blast took place 1,500 meters from Hadi’s presidential wing.
“An explosion targeted a security checkpoint that leads to the entrance of the presidential palace,” the official told Reuters by telephone.
Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent reported that seven were killed and 15 others were injured. However, a security official told AFP that the bombing killed six soldiers at a checkpoint outside the president’s residence.
The attack appeared to target a convoy entering the complex and carrying Aden’s governor, Aidarus al-Zubaidi, who escaped unharmed, the official said. Ten other soldiers with the presidential guard were wounded.
ISIS claims attack
Later on Thursday, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants claimed responsibility for the attack.
Officials said Hadi was inside his residence at the time of the attack and was unharmed.
“A suicide car bomb targeted a security checkpoint about 500 metres (yards) from the Maashiq palace. The majority of the casualties are civilians,” an official told Reuters by telephone.
In a statement online, ISIS said the attack was carried out by a suicide car bomber it identified as Abu Hanifa al-Hollandi. The nom de guerre suggested the attacker was a Dutch citizen.
Hadi was forced by Shiite Houthi militia group to flee the capital Sanaa in 2014 and is now based in Aden, Yemen’s second largest city, where his embattled government is trying to project its authority after its loyalists, backed by Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab forces, seized it back in July.
It is not the first time that a top official is targeted in Yemen. It was the latest in a spate of deadly attacks by Islamist militants on Yemeni government and security targets.
On Monday, the Yemeni prime minister and his Cabinet returned on Monday to the volatile Aden, months after he was targeted in a suicide bombing that forced them to leave the country.
Yemen has been torn by conflict since 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi militia members known as Houthis and allied with a former president captured large swaths of the country, including the capital, Sanaa, which they took in September that year.