A pair of suicide bombings claimed by ISIS militants killed at least 45 people and injured scores of others in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on Monday, security officials said.
They said the bombings targeted young men seeking to join the army.
One suicide car bomber targeted a line outside an army recruitment center, killing at least 20. A second bomber on foot detonated his explosive vest among a group of recruits waiting outside the home of an army commander, killing at least 25. Scores of others were wounded, said the officials.
The local affiliate of ISIS claimed responsibility for both attacks.
In a written statement posted to its social media accounts, ISIS said the attacks targeted “the apostate Yemeni army.”
It said the bombing at the residence of the commander killed more than 30 and was carried out by a native of Aden it identified as Abu Ali al-Adani. It did not give casualty figures for the attack at the army recruitment center, which it said was carried out by an explosive device, not a suicide car bomb as the officials said.
The assaults follow gains by Yemeni government forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, who mounted an offensive on al-Qaeda militants in southern towns beginning last month.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of chaos in Yemen since its war began nearly two years ago to win control over swathes of southern and eastern Yemen.
Their militant rivals in Yemen’s branch of ISIS have carried out a series of suicide attacks on all parties to Yemen’s tangled conflict, killing 25 police recruits outside the southeastern port city of Mukalla this month.
Yemeni forces pushed al-Qaeda out of its base in that city and have stepped up a crackdown on militants, killing sixteen in a raid outside the city backed up by Gulf Arab helicopters on Sunday.
In a separate incident, security officials said at least 20 people were killed in the city of Taiz when heavy rainfall triggered an avalanche of rocks that hit homes below in the residential Bani Omar district.