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Islamic State Claims Suicide Attack in Yemen, Killing at Least 48

Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists have claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near a military base in the capital of the United Nations-backed government in Yemen, killing and wounding dozens of troops.

The casualty figures vary by news report.

Some news outlets claim at least 48 have been killed, while others place the fatality number as high as 52. Meanwhile, the wounded figure is reportedly as low as 34 or as high as 84.

ISIS made its claim through a statement posted via its Amaq news agency and disseminated on Twitter.

The attack “occurred near al-Sawlaban military base in Aden’s Khor Maksar district, where another Islamic State suicide bomber blew himself up a week ago killing 50 soldiers,” reports Reuters.

Citing Abdurrahman Al Naqeeb, a spokesman for the local police office, United Press International (UPI) notes that “the morning blast near a military base targeted 10,000 soldiers waiting to collect paychecks outside the house of the commander of the special forces in Aden.”

Aden has been designated the temporary capital of Yemen’s internationally recognized government, led by President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and backed by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

“Emergency trucks flooded the area of the attack and streets were closed down by military forces,” reports CNN, referring to the recent ISIS-claimed assault. “The injured soldiers were taken to four hospitals in the city.”

A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting to restore the Hadi government since March 2015. The coalition entered the Yemeni war soon after the Iran-allied Shiite Houthi rebels conquered the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

Various United Nations-sponsored attempts at peace have failed.

Although Iran has denied providing military assistance to the Shiite Houthis, Gen. Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, the chief of staff of the Shiite Islamic Republic’s military, recently suggested his country is seeking to establish official naval bases in Yemen.

According to the UN, the Yemen war has killed nearly 10,000 and left millions in need of aid, prompting a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

Although the Saudi-led coalition also has fought against the Sunni rivals al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS, it has been primarily focused on the Iran-allied Houthis.

As a result, AQAP has expanded its reach in Yemen to unprecedented levels and substantially multiplied its manpower.

The al-Qaeda branch, considered one of the most potent and dangerous, reportedly controls more territory in Yemen than any other terrorist group in the country.

Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are regional enemies and war-ravaged Yemen has become a proxy battleground for the two countries.

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