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Car bomb explodes in Yemen

June 20, 2015

At least two people have been killed and several wounded after a car bomb detonated in Yemen's capital, Sanaa. The attack occurred shortly after peace talks between the country's warring groups failed.

Car bomb explodes in Sanaa
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Y. Arhab

A car bomb exploded near the Qabat al-Mahdi Mosque in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, on Saturday, killing at least two people and wounding six, security officials said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the strike, which came three days after "Islamic State" militants struck a mosque frequented by Houthis and several Shiite offices in Sanaa, killing at least 31 and injuring more than 60 people.

Saturday's attack came as Saudi bombers launched 15 strikes against Houthi strongholds in the port city of Aden.

"The objective is to close the noose around Houthi rebels in Aden and assist the Popular Resistance Committees," an officer told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity, referring to Sunni tribes and other pro-government fighters that have been fighting on the ground against Houthis.

No hope of peace

Peace talks between the warring factions, which ended on Friday in Geneva, failed to put a ceasefire in place. Rebel leader Hamza al-Houthi said his group "did everything to make the talks a success, but there were too many obstacles, especially the demand for withdrawal."

Yemen's exiled Foreign Minister Riad Yassin blamed the Houthis for the stalemate. "We really came here with a big hope…but unfortunately the Houthi delegation did not allow us really to reach real progress as we expected," Yassin told reporters.

Hadi's government is demanding that the rebels withdraw from the territories they control, but the Houthis want a pause in airstrikes before bringing the fighting to a halt.

Yemen's humanitarian crisis

Houthi rebels, who are Shiite Muslims, are considered to be backed by Iran and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The militants gained control over the capital last year in September and began fighting for control over the southern port city of Aden earlier this year, forcing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi out of the country.

Hadi sought refuge in Saudi Arabia, which launched airstrikes on Yemen in March in a bid to rout the Houthis and restore the president to power.

Months of fighting and political instability have taken their toll on Yemen's populace, which is suffering from drastic food shortages and a lack of medical supply. More than 2,600 people have been killed in the fighting and around 20 million people desperately need help, according to the United Nations.

mg/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)