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Attacks in Yemen as PM-designate turns down nomination

October 9, 2014

Two separate attacks, one targeting Shiite Houthi rebel supporters and the other a military post, have killed over 50 people in Yemen. Bloodshed continues amid the country's political deadlock.

Yemeni men carry a wounded man after a powerful suicide bombing rocked the Yemeni capital Sanaa on October 9, 2014 MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images
Image: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of people were killed in two separate suicide attacks in Yemen on Thursday.

An attack carried out in the capital Sanaa's Tahrir Square targeted supporters of Shiite insurgents known as Houthis who overran the capital in September and effectively forced a coup. The explosion occurred when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Houthi checkpoint on the perimeter of the square and killed at least 47 people and wounded up to 150 others.

According to Houthi sources, several children were among the dead.

Another explosion in the southeastern province of Hadhramaut killed 19 soldiers when a car bomb was detonated outside an army checkpoint. A further 13 soldiers were injured in the blast.

No one has claimed responsibility but the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda has increasingly carried out similar attacks on Shiite Houthi supporters since the rebels took control of the capital.

Houthi supporters gathered after the Sanaa attack - the largest of its kind since 2012 - and demanded the resignation of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi .

Hadi condemned the "coward terrorist bombing," state news agency Saba reported.

Rebels' cause

Houthis took control of Sanaa on September 21, engaging in bloody clashes with the Sunnis of the Islamist al-Islah party, who are backed by the army.

A UN-brokered peace agreement between the rebels and the government was struck that same day and foresaw the withdrawal of the Houthis from the capital and the dismantling of their checkpoints after the installment of a newly-appointed neutral prime minster.

The rebels nonetheless demand the fall of the beleaguered president and have boosted their presence in the capital, seeking to extend their dominance east and south.

Thursday's attacks came after Yemen's premier-designate Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak turned down his nomination after strong opposition by the Shiite rebels. Yemen's president had accepted Mubarak's request not to serve.

"The premier has submitted a letter to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in which he asked him to exempt him from forming the new government for the sake of the national unity and in order to spare the country any divisions or disagreements," Saba reported on Thursday.

sb, tj (dpa, AFP)

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