Over 40 dead after twin mosque suicide bombings in Yemen

At least 100 people were injured from suicide bomb explosions in the capital Sanaa during Friday prayers.

Hani Mohammed/AP
Houthi fighters stand near a damaged car after suicide attack in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, March 20, 2015. Triple suicide bombers hit a pair of mosques crowded with worshippers in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Friday, causing heavy casualties, according to witnesses. The attackers targeted mosques frequented by Shiite rebels, who have controlled the capital since September.

Triple suicide bombers hit a pair of mosques crowded with worshippers in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Friday, killing 46 and injuring 100 others, according to medical officials. The attackers targeted mosques controlled by Shiite rebels.

A report on the rebel-owned Al-Masirah TV channel said the bombers attacked the Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques during midday prayers on Friday, traditionally the most crowded time of the week. There was no immediate casualty report. It added that hospitals were urging citizens to donate blood.

Witnesses said that at least two suicide bombers attacked inside the Badr mosque. One walked inside the mosque and detonated his device, causing panic as dozens of worshippers rushed toward the outside gates. A second suicide bomber then attacked amid the panicked crowds trying to escape.

One witness at the al-Hashoosh mosque, located in Sanaa's northern district, said that he was thrown two meters away by the blast.

Al-Ansi added that many of those who didn't die in the explosion were seriously injured by shattered glass falling from the mosque's windows. He recalled running for the door along with other survivors and hearing one man screaming, "come back, save the injured!"

The Shiite TV network aired footage from inside al-Hashoosh mosque, where screaming volunteers were using blankets to carry away victims.

The attacks come a day after intense gun battles in the southern city of Aden, between rival troops loyal to Yemen's former and current president, left 13 dead and forced closure of the city's international airport.

The Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, swept down from their northern strongholds and seized the capital in September. Allied with ousted former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, they now control at least nine of Yemen's 21 provinces. Earlier this year they put Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the Western-backed president, under house arrest. Hadi has since fled to the southern city of Aden, where he established a temporary capital and maintains he is still the legitimate president.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Yemen is home to a powerful Al Qaeda branch, but there has also been a growing presence among supporters of the Islamic State group.

Some IS supporters on social media claimed the group carried out the bombing. The claim could not be confirmed, but if true it would be group's first major attack in Yemen.

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