Suicide bomb kills Yemen army recruits

A Yemeni army soldier stands guard as he secures a street in Mansoura district of Yemen's southern port city of Aden (30 March 2016)Image copyright

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Pro-government forces have struggled to prevent deadly attacks in Aden by jihadist militants

At least 40 army recruits have been killed in a suicide bomb attack claimed by so-called Islamic State (IS) in the Yemeni city of Aden, officials say.

The bomber targeted young men queuing to enlist, at the home of a senior army commander in the Khormaksar district.

Shortly afterwards there was a second blast at a nearby army base.

Aden is serving as the temporary home of Yemen’s government while it seeks to regain control of the capital, Sanaa, from the Houthi rebel movement.

Pro-government forces and troops from a Saudi-led multinational coalition regained control of Aden last summer, but they have struggled to prevent deadly attacks by local affiliates of IS and the rival jihadist group, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

‘Apostate soldiers’

In Monday’s first attack, a bomb exploded beside a group of recruits who were lined up outside the home of a general in Khormaksar, an area that acts as a bridge between the mainland and a peninsula where much of the city lies.

There were conflicting reports about whether the assailant detonated an explosive vest or a car bomb.

A bomb planted at the gate of the nearby Badr army base exploded a short time later but caused no casualties, local officials told the Reuters news agency.

IS later issued a statement on social media saying that one its members had blown himself up amid a group of “apostate soldiers” and that an improvised explosive device (IED) had been detonated nearby.

Eight days ago, IS claimed it was behind a suicide bombing that killed 31 police recruits at a base in the south-eastern port city of Mukalla.

Mukalla was recaptured by pro-government forces last month after a year of rule by AQAP, which has exploited the chaos resulting from Yemen’s civil war.

At least 6,200 people, half of them civilians, have been killed and almost three million others have been displaced since March 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign to defeat the Houthis.

The conflict has also pushed the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine and left 82% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.

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