At least 100 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured today after three suicide bombers believed to be Isis members targeted two mosques in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
Shockwaves were sent through the Shia rebel-controlled Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques at midday on Friday, the holiest day for Muslims.
Isis, the extremist group which has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria since last summer, quickly claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement released on Twitter.
Conflicting death and injury tolls have emerged from the scene in Sanaa, with a medical source telling Reuters that 126 people have died. Press Association cited Shia television channel reports stating there were as many as 137 fatalities and 345 wounded.
Both mosques are known to be used mainly by supporters of the Shia Muslim Houthi group which has seized control of the government.
Witnesses said that at least two suicide bombers entered the Badr mosque. One detonated his explosive belt and the second targeted the panicked crowd who tried to escape the destruction.
Extremely graphic images released by Reuters show victims with their limbs blown off, bodies on the floor and children and men being carried out of the mosques dead or with severe injuries.
One witness at the al-Hashoosh mosque, located in Sanaa’s northern district, said that he was thrown two meters away by the powerful bomb blast. Falling shards of glass from the shattered windows added to the injuries of worshippers.
“The heads, legs and arms of the dead people were scattered on the floor of the mosque,” Mohammed al-Ansi told The Associated Press, adding, “blood is running like a river.”
Terrified volunteers used blankets to wrap the bodies and laid them on the floor before they were taken away in a truck.
The critical situation has even prompted hospitals to urge citizens to donate blood so they can meet medical demands of those with life-threatening injuries.
The attacks follow a shooting yesterday that killed 13 people in the southern city Aden between the Shia Houthis and rival troops loyal to Yemen’s president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled there earlier this year and remains under house arrest.
Hadi is disputed by de facto leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, President of the Revolutionary Committee and head of the Shia Houthis.
Shia Houthi militants have seized the capital since September after migrating from northern stronghold regions. They now control nine of 21 provinces in Yemen.Reuse content