June 20, 2015 / 10:36 AM / 2 years ago

Car bomb explodes in Yemen capital near mosque used by Houthis, two dead

SANAA (Reuters) - Islamic State group said it was behind a car bomb that exploded in Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Saturday near the Qiba al-Mahdi mosque, killing two people and wounding six others, witnesses and a security source told Reuters.

People gather to look at the site of a car bomb attack outside the Qubbat al-Mahdi mosque in Yemen's capital Sanaa June 20, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

The group said in a statement published on militant Twitter accounts that the attack was targeting the Houthi militia, whose fighters have used the mosque, located in the old city of Sanaa.

On Wednesday the Sunni Muslim jihadist group claimed responsibility for four car bombs that detonated near mosques used by the Houthis and the group’s headquarters in Sanaa, killing two and injuring around 60 people.

The Houthis, who are mainly drawn from the Shi‘ite Zaydi sect and are considered heretics by Islamic State, took control of Sanaa in September, a move that culminated in a messy civil war and months of air strikes by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

U.N. sponsored talks in Geneva between Yemen’s warring parties ended on Friday without a deal.

The Houthis are allied to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who still has the loyalty of much of the army. They are fighting President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is exiled in Riyadh, as well as southern separatists, tribal factions and other political groups.

Two coalition air raids early on Saturday hit the al-Dulaimi air base near Sanaa’s international airport, while several others targeted Saada in northern Yemen and areas near the border with Saudi Arabia, witnesses and the Houthis said.

In Marib, a region east of Sanaa contested in fighting for the past three months, 15 Houthis and four tribal fighters were killed in clashes on Saturday morning, tribal sources told Reuters.

Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari; Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Louise Heavens

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