Daesh targets Yemen leaders
The Daesh affiliate in Yemen has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on Thursday that killed seven people and targeted the presidential palace in Aden, where the internationally recognized president and his Cabinet are based.
In an online statement posted on Twitter by the group’s supporters, Daesh identified the attacker as Abu Hanifa Al-Hollandi, an Arabic nom de guerre that suggests he was Dutch. His real name was not immediately known.
It was not possible to verify the claim. The group posted pictures that appeared to show the car bomb speeding toward cement barricades manned by presidential guards.
The bombing took place around one kilometer away from his palace, which is heavily guarded by Emirati and Saudi special forces, officials said.
They said that both President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah were inside the palace at the time of the explosion. Witnesses said that the bombing was heard across the city and demolished several nearby houses.
The attack came days after top government officials held a meeting to discuss badly needed security measures in Aden, officials said, adding that the new security plan involved the deployment of heavy weaponry to the city. They said a first dispatch that included dozens of armored vehicles and rockets had already arrived, and that units of newly trained civilians had joined the pro-government army in Aden.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera confirmed that its reporter Hamdi Al-Bakari and crew members Abdulaziz Al-Sabri and Moneer Al-Sabai had been freed in the western city of Taiz.
Al-Bakari wrote on his Facebook page that he was abducted by Houthis and that they were subjected to “terrible mental torture.”
For months, residents and aid groups say the Houthis have been indiscriminately shelling Taiz and blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid there. Although Al-Bokhari blames Houthis for his kidnap, Taiz’s local militias include militants from Al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen as well as hard-liners whom some activists blamed for the abduction in recent days.