IS claimed bombings kill 43 in Yemen
An Islamic State affiliate has carried out a series of attacks in Yemen’s southern port city of Mukalla, killing at least 43 people and wounding several others, officials said.
The attacks came as the government and Shiite Houthi rebels planned to suspend talks on ending Yemen’s larger conflict after failing to reach a breakthrough in two months of negotiations held in Kuwait.
The officials said two suicide bombers and other militants carried out at least seven simultaneous attacks in Mukalla targeting intelligence offices, army barracks and checkpoints.
In one of the attacks, a bomb was concealed in a box of food brought to soldiers at a checkpoint to break their dawn-to-dusk Ramadan fast. In another, a group of militants stormed a police station, officials said.
Witnesses said gunfire echoed across the city, followed by ambulance sirens. The IS affiliate said in an online statement that it launched four suicide bombings against counterterrorism forces.
Officials said another 10 people were wounded in the attacks.
An al-Qaida affiliate seized Mukalla and held it for a year before being driven out in April by a Saudi-led military coalition. Both al-Qaida and its rival, the IS group, have exploited the chaos of Yemen’s war to seize territory and carry out attacks.
Emirati forces from the Saudi-led coalition, which are guarding the city’s port and the airport, have sealed off several main streets. Officials said the death toll is expected to rise.