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Rebel Leaders Killed in Sana’a Explosion…Coalition: We Have not Bombed | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People stand at the site of destruction in Sana’a, Yemen, October 8, 2016. Reuters

Aden-An explosion shook the Yemeni capital Sana’a on Saturday, leaving around 140 people killed or injured, including high-ranking rebel leaders.

Reports said a former governor and an official linked to the Houthi-Saleh group might have also been killed in the bombing.

Meanwhile, the Coalition supporting the legitimate government in Yemen announced it had no military operations at the location of the blast, adding that “other causes” for the incident must be considered.

The Coalition’s denial came as accusations rose on Saturday concerning the connections between quarrelling groups in Sana’a and the bombing, particularly when Revolutionary Guards members close to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh were present in Sana’a.

Observers also say the incident coincided with Yemeni activists organizing daily protests against rebels in the capital.

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government, which is supported by an alliance of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, is fighting the Houthis and Saleh militias who took over the capital Sana’a in 2014.

According to news agencies, an explosion went off at the Great Hall in al-Khamseen Street in Sana’a. Eyewitnesses said the blast targeted mourners who gathered after the funeral of the father of Galal al-Rawishan, a Houthi ally who serves as the interior minister.

Media outlets close to the Houthi-Saleh group said Abdulqader Hilal, the mayor of Sana’a, was killed in the air strike. Other reports spoke about the killing of Khaled, the son of Saleh, in addition to Houthi leader Youssef al-Midani and commander of the rebels’ Central Security Forces Abdelrazek al-Marouni. However, these reports remained unconfirmed.

Meanwhile, Yemenis plan to organize several peaceful marches on Sunday in the streets of Sana’a to protest the crimes committed by rebels.

Rebel security apparatuses had taken preventive measures two days ahead of the planned demonstration by cutting off the WhatsApp messenger on Yemeni phones. Observers say this step shows that rebels fear the upcoming protests, which have been active under the hashtag “#I am participating.”