x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Car bomb hits Yemen religious procession

At least 15 people were killed and dozens of others wounded in a bombing that targeted a Shiite procession in Al Jawf province.

SANA’A // Fifteen people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suicide attack on a Shiite celebration in northern Yemen, a spokesman for rebels in the region said.

A vehicle laden with explosives drove into a car carrying Houthis, from the Zaidi Shiite sect, in the northern province of al Jawf, according to Mohammed Abdulsalam, a spokesman for the Houthis, who have been fighting an insurgency against the government for six years.

The victims were on their way to a religious ritual called al Ghadeer, which is celebrated by Shiite Muslims.

Mr Abdulsalam said the attack targeted Shiites who were gathering in al Mutoon district to move to al Zaher district to mark al Ghadeer, the day on which Shiites commemorate the appointment of Ali, one of the key figures of their faith, as successor to the Prophet Mohammed.

“People were gathering to move to another area for al Ghadeer celebration and a booby-trapped car stopped the procession, ramming into another vehicle and exploded,” Mr Abdulsalam told The National in a telephone interview.

He said the Houthis "cannot point the finger of blame at anybody right now," and that they are investigating the attack.

However, tribal sources did not dismiss the possibility that al Qa’eda might be behind the blast.

The Houthis have been fighting against the government since 2004 and reached a truce in February.

malqadhi@thenational.ae