Deadly blast hits Yemen mosque at start of Muslim holiday

At least one blast tore through a mosque in Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa Thursday, witnesses said, targeting Shiite worshippers during prayers at the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and leaving at least 25 dead.

The attack happened in the Balili mosque near a police academy in Sanaa, which is controlled by the Houthi Shiite rebels, according to witnesses. Some reports said there had been two explosions, both by suicide bombers.

At least 25 people were killed, medics told the AFP news agency, with dozens more wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Yemeni capital has been shaken by a string of bombings of Shiite mosques in recent months claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.

The radical Sunni Muslim group considers Shiites to be heretics and has also claimed bombings of mosques in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels have seized several regions of Yemen including Sanaa which they overran a year ago.

Pro-government forces backed by Saudi-led air strikes have recently managed to wrest back some southern provinces, including Yemen’s second city of Aden.

The Islamic State group and the Yemen-based branch of its jihadist rival Al-Qaeda have exploited the turmoil to boost their activities in the impoverished country.

The bombing came as Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Adha – the feast of sacrifice – which Muslims mark by prayers in congregation at mosques.