The bomb targeted the Qabat al-Mahdi mosque in Sanaa’s old city, where Shiite rebels known as Houthis and others pray, security officials said. The ISIS group claimed the attack on a Twitter account associated with the extremists, saying it targeted Shiite Houthis, who the Sunni extremists view as heretics.
The security officials, who gave the casualty figure, spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to brief journalists.
This is the second Sanaa attack claimed by the ISIS group’s affiliate in Yemen this week. On Wednesday, a series of ISIS-claimed bombings in the capital killed at least four people and wounded 60.
In March, just before a Saudi-led coalition began its airstrike campaign against the Houthis, the ISIS affiliate in Yemen claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings in Sanaa targeting Shiites that killed at least 137 people and wounded 345. American officials initially expressed skepticism that affiliate existed, as Yemen is also home to the world’s most dangerous al-Qaida offshoot.
The Houthis seized control of Sanaa in September and continue their advance across the country despite the Saudi-led airstrikes, which began March 26. Yemen’s conflict pits the Houthis and their allies against an array of forces, including southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Yemen’s exiled government under Hadi and the Houthis failed to come to terms on even a temporary cease-fire Friday as U.N.-brokered talks in Geneva ended without an agreement.
Saudi-led airstrikes continued Saturday, hitting the Sanaa International Airport and a nearby air force base. Warplanes also hit targets in Aden, Lahj, Jawf and Saada, security officials said.