SANAA (Web Desk) – Two suicide bombers killed at least 25 people at a mosque run by Yemen’s Houthi group on Thursday in the capital Sanaa, where Muslim worshippers were celebrating the Eidul Azha, medics and witnesses said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack at al-Balili mosque just outside the Old City of Sanaa, but it appeared to resemble previous bombings by Islamic State that have killed hundreds of Zaydis – a branch of Shia Islam that the militant group considers to be heretical.
The Houthis seized Sanaa a year ago and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile in Saudi Arabia. Since March, the Western-allied Kingdom has led an Arab alliance trying to restore Hadi to power and drive the Houthis back to their northern Stronghold; Islamic State has exploited resulting conflict to expand its operations.
Houthi fighters sealed off the area where the explosions occurred.
Nayef, who lives near the mosque, said he heard one explosion followed quickly by a second one.
“We gathered to rescue the wounded. The situation is very painful and blood is everywhere.”
It was the second attack targeting a mosque run by the Houthis, which hails from the Muslim Shia sect, in the capital this month.
Witnesses said the first blast shook the mosque soon after worshippers gathered for Eid prayers. A second suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt when Houthi guards tried to stop him rushing deep inside the mosque.
“We rushed outside and summoned the ambulances,” one witness said.
The Houthi Ansarullah group’s website said at least 25 people were killed in the attack. Medics said at least 36 other people were wounded in the attack.
Muslims celebrate Eidul Azha – the feast of sacrifice – in congregation at mosques.
Islamic State has claimed several bombings targeting mosques run by the Houthi group in recent months.
Earlier this month, at least 28 people were killed and 75 were wounded in twin suicide bombings claimed by the Islamist militant group’s Yemen branch targeting a mosque in northern Sanaa.
In March, Islamic State suicide bombers killed at least 137 worshippers and wounded hundreds more in coordinated attacks at two mosques during Friday prayers in Sanaa.