06/18/2015, 00.00
YEMEN
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The Islamic State attacks Sana'a: 31 dead and dozens wounded in five attacks

Mosques and offices used by Houthi targeted. For jihadi militias they are "heretics" and should be fought. House of a Shia rebel movement leader also hit. The attacks took place in conjunction with the start of prayer on the eve of Ramadan. UN peace talks in Geneva extended.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 31 people were killed and dozens injured in the five bomb attacks, unleashed simultaneously yesterday in Sana'a. According to eye witnesses the blasts, claimed by the Islamic state (IS),  targeted some Shiite mosques and offices in the Yemeni capital.

The leadership of the "Caliphate", based in Syria and Iraq, but active in other countries of the Middle East region, defined the attacks as "vendetta" against "heretical" Shia Houthi, who seized power in Sana'a and in different areas from Yemen's Sunni majority.

Since January, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody internal conflict opposing the country’s Sunni rulers, backed by Saudi Arabia, and Shia Houthi rebels, supported by Iran.Since March, the Saudi led-coalition has carried out air strikes against the rebels.

According to United Nations reports, since19 March, the conflict has killed at least 1,500 people - 828 of them civilians - and wounded another 6 thousand. In the context of the conflict many artistic sites of the ancient capital, considered a Unesco heritage site, have also been destroyed.

In yesterday's attacks, two bombs hit as many mosques, while a third explosion hit the house of a Houthi rebel leader Saleh al-Sammad. As confirmed by a statement issued by IS leaders, the attack also targeted the offices used by the Houthi rebels leadership for their meetings and gatherings.

A car bomb hit the house of Taha al-Mutawakel, among the most senior members of the rebel movement, and the nearby mosque of al-Hashush, already the subject of a suicide bombing attempt last March. Other mosques affected include al-Quba al-Khadra in central Hayel district and al-Kibssi and al-Tayssir, in the district of al-Ziraa.

The explosions took place in conjunction with afternoon prayer on the eve of the beginning of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer.

Also yesterday, the United Nations has extended peace talks being held in Geneva, currently stalled and unable to provide solutions for a lasting cease-fire in the country.

The two sides - the government and the Houthi rebels in exile - are accusing each other of sabotaging the peace process, making it even more difficult to reach an agreement. Both warring parties agree on the need for a ceasefire, but the positions remain far apart on how to implement it. In recent days, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon called for a truce in the fighting, in anticipation of the beginning of Ramadan.

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