Car bombs hit 3 mosques in Sana'a

2015-06-17 19:47
Houthi Shi’ite fighters. (AP)

Houthi Shi’ite fighters. (AP)

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Sana'a/Geneva - Four car bombs hit three mosques and the political headquarters of the Houthi movement in the Yemeni capital Sana'a on Wednesday, a security official said, killing and wounding dozens of people.

The blasts came as Saudi-led forces conducted more air strikes against Houthi military sites across Yemen and as delegates attending peace talks in Switzerland reported no progress on the second day of a UN-sponsored push for a Ramadan truce.

"Four car bombs targeted the political bureau of Ansarullah, the Hashush mosque in the Jiraf district, the Kibsi mosque in the Zira district and the Qubat al-Khadra mosque, causing the martyrdom and injury of dozens," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Earlier on Wednesday Houthi fighters in central Yemen blew up the home of a senior politician, Abdel-Aziz Jubari, while he was attending the Geneva talks as a member of the exiled government's delegation.

Yemen's Foreign Minister Reyad Yassin Abdulla told Reuters in Geneva that the peace talks had "made no progress".

Residents of Dhamar city said the Houthis, who had taken over Jubari's house in April, dynamited the building early in the morning. Yemeni websites published picture of its collapsed ceiling on top of a pile of rubble.

Jubari, who is deputy head of the delegation sent to Geneva by ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, said he was shocked when he heard the news.

"This is regrettable that people's manners and behaviours can reach this point," Jubari told Reuters in Geneva.

"Of course my house is not the only house in Yemen ... A lot of people's homes and properties have been targeted in an unbelievable way."

Revenge

Abdulla, the head of the government delegation said: "It is in this spirit of revenge that they are dealing with all the Yemeni people and we cannot remain silent on this."

Houthi officials were not immediately available to comment.

The Houthis seized the Yemeni capital Sana'a in September and pressed into the country's centre and south, forcing Hadi and his government into exile in Riyadh.

They say they are campaigning against corruption and ending what they say is years of political marginalisation.

A coalition of Arab states headed by Saudi Arabia has been bombing the Houthis - who hail from the Zaydi sect of Shi'ite Islam - and their allies in Yemen's army since March 26.

Their aim is to restore Hadi to power and head off what they see as Shi'ite Iran's expansion in the region. The Houthis deny receiving military backing from Iran.

The latest air raids by the Saudi-led alliance focused on army bases in Sanaa and Houthi targets in Yemen's central desert and the mountainous province of Mahweet, one of the last provinces in Yemen not to be bombed since the campaign began.

More than 2,600 civilians and combatants have been killed since March and a humanitarian crisis is looming as supplies of food, medicine and other goods run short.

Ceasefire chances dampened

In Geneva, the UN's special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has been conducting shuttle diplomacy trying to bridge differences.

Early on Wednesday Abdulla played down the prospects of a quick agreement on a ceasefire, saying his delegation remained focused on implementing a UN Security Council resolution demanding the Houthis quit cities they seized in September and subsequent weeks.

He said that while everyone sought a ceasefire, he did not want one merely "for the sake of publicity".

UN envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who has asked the Houthi party to pick 10 of their number to represent them at the talks, said he remained optimistic. But Abdulla said the Houthis had not formed their negotiating team by early evening.

"We don't know what they want... They are just sitting in their hotel making all kind of rumours," he told Reuters. "We have 48 hours."

In a speech on Tuesday, Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, held out hope for a resolution, but accused his Yemeni opponents of seeking to advance Saudi Arabia's agenda.

"There is nothing hindering a political solution in the country; the solution is available, but they [Saudis] are the ones who ruin it with their aggression," he said.

Hadi and the allied Arab states have demanded the Houthis comply with a UN Security Council Resolution in April calling on the group to quit Yemen's main cities.

Read more on:    yemen

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