|Badr Mosque in Yemeni capital Sanaa after bombing|
(Image: VOA news)
Multiple suicide bombings hit the mosques in Yemeni capital Sanaa on Friday, 20 March, leaving at least 142 people dead and hundreds of injured and becoming one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Yemen since 2011.
The attacks targeted Shia worshippers including Huthi militia men, who seize currently control of the city of Sanaa. The attack was claimed to be carried out by the Yemeny branch of Islamic State and was declared to be “the top of the iceberg”, according to the statement of ISIS, published later after the attack and threatening Yemen with the further attacks.
Friday bombings came only a day after massive clashes erupted between the forces, loyal to Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, and the forces allied with the Huthi Shia militia in the southern city of Aden, where the President fled in February.
Friday suicide bombings targeted Shia mosques in Sanaa, currently controlled by Huthi, including the Badr Mosque, one of the most popular mosques attended by Shia in the city. The attack had a terribly and deadly outcome as the mosque was full of people, streaming there to the Friday prayer.
The first explosion took place inside of the Badr Mosque during the prayer, while the second bomb went off later, on the exit, when the people were trying to flee the mosque and ran outside.
The third bombing occurred later and targeted another Shia mosque, Al-Hashush mosque, located in north of Sanaa. This blast left no casualties, as the bomber didn’t manage to enter the mosque due to the tight security, so he blew himself up at the entrance of it. The suicide bomber was the only one who was killed as a result of this blast.
The Badr mosque bombing left at least 142 people dead, among them at least 17 children, and 351 people wounded, according to the statement of Yemeni Ministry of Health operations’ committee.
All the neighboring hospitals were put on alert after the bombing, receiving dozens of badly injured people, transported to the hospital by the cars and pick-up trucks. The witnesses reported the floors of the mosque and the ground outside were soaked with people’s blood, while the scenes inside of the mosque were terribly grave and graphic.
Sanaa hospitals have called for urgent blood donations to be made by the citizens.
Yemeni branch of ISIS, which pledged its allegiance to ISIS earlier this year and was accepted by the ISIS command, claimed responsibility for these attacks stating that these attacks are only “the top of an iceberg” and that they will mark the beginning of a war against “infidel Shia and Huthi”, whom radical Islamist group ISIS considers being a part of an “Iranian plan” in Yemen, as Huthis were often being accused of receiving support from Iran.
Friday Sanaa mosque bombing was the first time when ISIS claimed responsibility for a terrorist operation carried out in the civil was torn Yemen.