The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing attack that killed at least 54 people in Yemen’s southern city of Aden Monday as the year-and-a-half-old civil war continues to ravage the poorest country in the Middle East.
1 Year Later: West-Backed Saudi Coalition Has Destroyed Yemen
Dozens more were wounded in the attack that targeted a compound where forces loyal to exiled, Saudi-allied President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi were gathered, according to local authorities. Victims were transported to a nearby hospital run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders.
The statement from the Islamic State group, released through its Amaq news agency, claimed that “around 60” were killed in the bombing.
Meanwhile, Houthi forces, which were behind Hadi’s ouster between 2014 and 2015 after they seized the capital of Sanaa, started firing rockets again Monday at targets on the southern edge of Saudi Arabia.
Backed by the United States, the Gulf nation has led a coalition offensive against the Houthis since last year. Saudi Arabia and its allies claim Iran is backing the rebels militarily and financially, which Tehran and the Houthis deny.
Why Saudia Arabia is Bombing Yemen
The latest hostilities come amid ongoing failed attempts to launch peace talks in Yemen. The Houthi-led ruling bloc told Reuters Monday that the military movement was open to negotiations after the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Nations agreed to a plan to set talks in motion with the aim of setting up a unity government.
The Houthis say they have not yet received a formal proposal, and raised concerns over the fact that Saudi Arabia has violated agreements to halt airstrikes in the past, casting a shadow over the current talk of a potential peace process.
More than 6,500 people have been killed, over half of them civilians, since the Saudi-led coalition began its assault on Yemen in March 2015.
Human rights groups have slammed the United States for directly backing the war, arguing the Obama administration must not only pressure Riyadh to clean up its act in Yemen, but also take responsibility for its role own role in the bloody conflict.