ISIS claims Sanaa mosque blast on first day of Eid

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Houthi militant walks inside the al-Balili mosque after two bombings hit the mosque in Yemen's capital Sanaa. (Reuters)

Yemen’s branch of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Thursday claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a mosque in the Yemeni capital Sanaa that killed at least 25 people, according to a statement posted on social media.

The Islamist militant group said the attack at al-Balili mosque killed or wounded dozens of people during prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on Thursday.

The deadly incident took place when two suicide bombers blew themselves up at al-Balili mosque run by Yemen’s Houthi militia group in Sanaa on Thursday, the first day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, causing many casualties, witnesses said.

The ISIS affiliate’s claim of responsibility came in a statement circulated on Twitter by the Sunni militant group’s supporters. The Associated Press could not independently verify the authenticity of the claim. The statement said ISIS targeted the Shiite rebels, whom the Sunni extremists view as heretics.

The Associated Press citing security officials said a suicide bomber and not two was behind the blast.

The security officials said the suicide bomber placed an explosive device in his shoe, causing an initial explosion. As worshippers rushed to the door, he detonated himself in the middle of the crowd, they said. The officials, who remain neutral in the conflict that has splintered the country, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

There were puddles of blood and debris outside the mosque, whose ornate facade was damaged by the blast. Police and some Houthi fighters came to inspect the aftermath. Eid al-Adha is a major Muslim holiday, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice.

Yemen has been torn by a ferocious war pitting the Houthis and forces fighting for former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against fighters loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, as well as southern separatists, local militias and Sunni extremists.

Agencies

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