Yemen mosque bombing: At least 20 killed by 'Islamic State' blasts in Sanaa

Two bombs went off in the capital as worshippers gathered for evening prayers

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The Independent Online

At least 20 people have been killed at a mosque in Yemen’s rebel-held capital of Sanaa, in a twin bomb attack which a group affiliated with Isis has claimed responsibility for.

Worshippers had gathered inside a mosque for the evening call to prayer, when a suicide bomber detonated a device inside the building.

A car bomb exploded outside an entrance as people attempted to carry wounded victims from the mosque, witnesses told Associated Press reporters on the scene.

Medics said the death toll is expected to rise, as several of the wounded have been rushed to operating rooms at several hospitals.

Hamid Ali, a witness, said that the mosque floors were left bloodied and strewn with body parts after the explosion. The wounded pleaded for help in the place of worship frequented by both Sunni and Shia Muslims, he said.

Yemen's Sunni Isis affiliate has on social media that it carried out the attack as revenge against the Shia rebels holding the capital. The message could not be independently verified, however the incident bares similarities to a bombing by a group affiliated with Isis in Sana earlier this year.

The incident came the same day that two Yemeni workers for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were shot dead as they travelled from the northern province of Saada to Sanaa.

The two were killed in Amran province, according to ICRC spokesman Rima Kamal.

Violence has spiked in Yemen since Shia rebels, known as Houthis, swept down from their stronghold in Saada and seized Sanaa in September 2014.

Army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh have joined forces with the Houthis against armed groups loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, as well as southern separatists and local militias.

A Saudi-led and US-backed coalition has been launching airstrikes against the rebels since March.

The conflict has killed over 2,100 civilians, according to the United Nations.

Additional reporting by AP