Multiple suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least 142 people Friday at Shiite mosques in Yemen’s capital — one of the strife-torn country’s deadliest ever jihadist attacks.
The killings were the first claimed by IS in Yemen and represent a strong show of force by the group in a country where rival Al-Qaeda is the most prominent jihadist organisation.
Charred bodies and pools of blood were seen at the scene of the blasts, which targeted supporters of the Huthi Shiite militia that has seized control of the capital Sanaa.
Worshippers rushed the wounded to hospitals in pick-up trucks, while others evacuated mutilated bodies.
One suicide bomber struck inside Badr mosque in southern Sanaa while another targeted worshippers as they fled outside, witnesses said.
A third suicide bomber targeted Al-Hashush mosque in northern Sanaa, while a fourth struck outside the mosque, according to the Saba news agency, which is now controlled by the Huthis.
Nashwan al-Atab, a member of the health ministry’s operations committee, told AFP that 142 people were killed and at least 351 were wounded.
Huthi TV said hospitals had made urgent appeals for blood donations.
The imam of the Badr mosque was among the dead, a medical source said.
Another suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque in the northern Huthi stronghold of Saada, a source close to the militia said.
Only the assailant was killed in that explosion, and tight security at the mosque prevented the bomber from going inside, the source added.