SANAA (Reuters) - Four car bombs which struck mosques in Sanaa and the headquarters of Yemen’s dominant Houthi movement on Wednesday killed two people and wounded 60 others, a medical source told state news agency Saba on Thursday.
Coming on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the bombings were claimed by Islamic State and contributed to a sense of fear in the capital, which was again hit by air strikes targeting Houthi-allied military sites on Thursday.
A Saudi-led coalition has been launching air raids against the Iran-allied Houthis for almost three months.
The campaign aims to restore Yemen’s government in exile and fend off what Saudi Arabia sees as growing Iranian influence in the Arabian Peninsula, but the coalition has yet to reverse the Houthis’ control over the capital and upper hand in battles against opponents nationwide.
The sectarian-tinged conflict, pitting the Shi‘ite Muslim Houthis against mostly Sunni tribes and militias in the country’s south and east, has given Sunni militant groups al Qaeda and Islamic State greater space to maneuver.
United Nations-backed peace talks in Geneva are struggling to bring together rival Houthi and government delegations, and U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has been conducting shuttle diplomacy between the two sides.
Delegates reported that little progress had been made toward a hoped-for ceasefire, and talks were due to conclude on Friday or Saturday.
A humanitarian crisis continues throughout the country as many areas are caught in clashes between the warring sides. A near blockade imposed by the coalition have cut off supplies of food, fuel and medicine.
Medical sources in the frontline southern city of Aden said around 20 people, including a doctor, died of dengue fever in the Crater district on Wednesday, amid a spreading outbreak caused by poor sanitation and lack of water.
The U.N. agency OCHA said on Wednesday that 19 of Yemen’s 22 provinces were faced a food crisis or an emergency.
“Yemen desperately needs a pause in fighting, increased access and funding for humanitarian assistance, and an immediate large-scale resumption of commercial imports,” OCHA said.
More than 2,600 civilians and combatants have been killed since the conflict began in late March.
Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Dominic Evans