SANAA, Yemen – A suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Yemen's southern city of Aden on Monday killed at least 45 pro-government troops who had been preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia to fight Houthi rebels in Yemen's north, officials said. The men were at a staging area near two schools and a mosque where they were registering to join the expedition. The Saudis hope to train up to 5,000 fighters and deploy them to the Saudi cities of Najran and Jizan, near the border, Yemeni security officials said. Over 60 wounded were being taken to three area hospitals, they added. Aid group Doctors Without Borders reported on social media that their hospital in Aden had received 45 dead, while the Yemeni officials earlier put the figure at 25 but said it was likely to rise.
Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, has been devastated by a war between forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement. More than 6,800 people have been killed and 35,000 injured since March 2015, the majority in air strikes by a Saudi-led multinational coalition that backs the president. The conflict and a blockade imposed by the coalition have also triggered a humanitarian disaster, leaving 80% of the population in need of aid. The conflict has its roots in the failure of the political transition that was supposed to bring stability to Yemen following an uprising that forced its longtime authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to Mr Hadi, his deputy, in November 2011. Mr Hadi struggled to deal with a variety of problems, including attacks by al-Qaeda, a separatist movement in the south, the continuing loyalty of many military officers to Mr Saleh, as well as corruption, unemployment and food insecurity.
At least ten Yemeni soldiers have been killed in a suicide bombing attack in the southern province of Abyan, security officials said. Sunday's attack saw 14 other soldiers wounded when the bomber drove an explosives-laden car into an army position where many soldiers loyal to Yemen's internationally-recognised government were concentrated, Paris-based AFP news agency reported citing officials. Ensuing clashes reportedly erupted between pro-government troops and suspected al-Qaeda fighters in the area. The attack comes nearly a month after government forces, backed by an allied Arab coalition, dislodged al-Qaeda fighters from Zinjibar, the capital city of Abyan. Troops retook other towns across Abyan but have been met by fierce resistance in a key al-Qaeda stronghold, Al-Mahfid, a town which lies further east.