ADEN (Reuters) - A suicide car bombing claimed by Islamic State killed at least 40 army recruits and injured 60 others in the Yemeni city of Aden on Monday, medics said, in one of the deadliest attacks yet on the beleaguered government.
The attack occurred as the recruits lined up to enlist for military service at the home of a senior general in the Khor Maksar district of Aden, officials said.
The port city serves as the temporary capital of Yemen’s Saudi-backed administration while it seeks to seize back the capital Sanaa from the armed Houthi group.
Local news website Aden al-Ghad showed pictures of soldiers picking up bloodied comrades in uniform from the ground and witnesses reported seeing ambulances with blaring sirens collecting the wounded.
In a written statement posted to its social media accounts, Islamic state said the attack targeted “the apostate Yemeni army” and named the attacker as Abu Ali al-Adeni.
A bomb planted at the gate of a nearby army base detonated afterwards but caused no casualties, local officials said.
The attacks follow gains by Yemeni government forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, who mounted an offensive on al Qaeda militants in southern towns beginning last month.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of chaos in Yemen since its civil war began last year to win control over swathes of southern and eastern Yemen.
Their militant rivals in Yemen’s branch of Islamic State have carried out a series of suicide attacks on all parties to Yemen’s tangled conflict, killing 25 police recruits outside the southeastern port city of Mukalla this month.
Yemeni forces pushed al Qaeda out of its base in that city and have stepped up a crackdown on militants, killing sixteen in a raid outside the city backed up by Gulf Arab helicopters on Sunday.
Additional reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Richard Balmforth