Al-Qaeda In The Arabian Peninsula Seizes Control Of Provincial Capital In Yemen
From bad to worse, to worse, to worse…
Via NY Times:
Quadruple suicide bombers on Friday hit a pair of mosques controlled by Shiite rebels in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, unleashing blasts through crowds of worshippers that killed at least 137 people and wounded around 350 others in the deadliest violence to hit the fragile war-torn nation in decades.
A group claiming to be a Yemeni branch of the Islamic State group said it carried out the bombings and warned of an “upcoming flood” of attacks against the rebels, known as Houthis, who have taken over the capital and much of Yemen. The claim, posted online, could not immediately be independently confirmed and offered no proof of an Islamic State role.
If true, Friday’s bombing would be the first major attack by IS supporters in Yemen and an ominous sign that the influence of the group that holds much of Iraq and Syria has spread to this chaotic nation. The claim was posted on the same web bulletin board where the Islamic State affiliate in Libya claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s deadly attack on a museum in Tunisia.
A significant presence of Islamic State group supporters would add an alarming new element to the turmoil in this fragmenting nation. Yemen is already home to the most powerful branch of the al-Qaida network — which is a rival of IS. On Friday, al-Qaida militants seized control of a southern provincial capital, al-Houta, in the group’s most dramatic grab of territory by the group in years.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemeni branch is called, has also been battling for months against the Houthis in various parts of the country. But the group issued an official statement denying it carried out Friday’s bombings, pointing to earlier instructions from the terror network’s leader Ayman al-Zawahri not to strike mosques or markets.