Where are the hashtags for deadly Isis attack in Yemen? Absence of solidarity with victims criticised on Twitter

At least 60 pro-government recruits killed in Aden on Monday

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 31 August 2016 12:50
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Soldiers and people gather at the site of the attack by a suicide bomber who drove a car laden with explosives into a compound run by local militias
Soldiers and people gather at the site of the attack by a suicide bomber who drove a car laden with explosives into a compound run by local militias

Absence of solidarity with victims of an Isis-claimed suicide bomb attack on an army camp in Yemen has been criticised on Twitter.

At least 60 pro-government recruits were killed in the southern city of Aden on Monday. They were gathered at a staging area near two schools and a mosque when a pickup truck accelerated through the build's gate as a food delivery arrived and exploded among the crowd.

"Bodies and body parts are scattered all over the place," Mohammed Osman, a neighbour who rushed to the scene, told the AP. "It was a massacre."

People gather at the scene following an attack by a suicide bomber who drove a car laden with explosives into a compound run by local militias in the port city of Aden, Yemen, 29 August, 2016.

The death toll steadily rose through the day and by mid-afternoon, the director of Aden's Health Ministry, Khidra Lasour, said 54 had died from the explosion. Almost 70 people were wounded, including 30 seriously, and were being treated in local hospitals.

After the attack, several people took to Twitter to criticise the amount of attention it received.

Others expressed their solidarity and outrage with the hashtag #PrayForYemen.

Security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media, identified the bomber as Ahmed Seif and distributed a photo of him smiling and holding an assault rifle next to a flag used by Islamic extremists as well as a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

Yemen is embroiled in a civil war pitting the internationally recognised government and a Saudi-led coalition against the Shia Houthi rebels , who are allied with army units loyal to a former president. The fighting has allowed al-Qaida and Isis to expand their reach, particularly in the south.

The recruits were signing up to join a new unit the Saudis hope will ultimately be made up of 5,000 fighters. After some training, the new force will deploy to the Saudi cities of Najran and Jizan, near the border with Yemen, the officials said.

Hundreds have already arrived in the border province of Jawf and the adjacent province of Marib. The Houthis control most of northern Yemen, including the border regions and the capital, Sanaa.

Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres reported on social media that their hospital in Aden had received 45 dead.

The Isis-run Amaq news agency said the attack was carried out "by a fighter from the Islamic State who targeted a recruitment center." Later, another statement circulated by Isis called the bomber a "knight" who had purportedly killed some 60 coalition fighters.

Ahmed al-Fatih, who had been working at the center, said security at the site was lax.

"There was no consideration of security," he said. "So it was easy for al-Qaida or Daesh to pull off such an act," he added, using an Arabic acronym to refer to Isis.

Most of the recruits are men in their early 20s, unemployed, according to the officials, and mostly from the southern provinces of Abyan, Dhale, and Lahj. Eleven bodies from the attack were taken by ambulances to the town of Koud, where they were buried collectively, officials added.

One of the recruits killed was 27-year-old Mohammed Nasser, whose mother said he hadn't been able to find a job since graduating from the Aden University four years ago.

"I didn't want him to go," she said, sobbing. "But I never expected him to return a dead body."

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