Middle East

Yemen crisis: Sanaa mosque bombings kill at least 20, officials say

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Media captionEyewitnesses say that one explosion was followed by a car bomb

A double suicide bomb attack on a Shia mosque in Yemen's capital Sanaa has killed at least 20 people and left many more injured, medical officials say.

Eyewitnesses report that one bomber blew himself up as worshippers left the mosque, before a car bomb was set off as people came to help the casualties.

On Twitter, Islamic State militants claimed they had carried out the attack.

Earlier in the day, two aid workers were shot dead in northern Yemen.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that two of its local aid workers were killed as they travelled in a convoy to Sanaa.

It is believed a lone gunman opened fire on their vehicle as they travelled through the northern province of Amran on the way from the Houthi stronghold Saada.

'Islamic state bombing'

IS militants have claimed a series of suicide bombings against Houthi targets in recent months.

The mosque is in a neighbourhood that supports the Houthi rebels, who seized the capital in February.

Fighting in Yemen has escalated since a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily against the Houthi rebels at the end of March.

The fighting has now reached 21 out of 22 provinces and some 4,500 people - including at least 2,112 civilians - have been killed, according to the UN.

More than 1.4 million people have also been displaced and 21 million - almost 80% of the population - are in need of some form of humanitarian aid.

Why is there fighting in Yemen?

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  • Northern Shia Muslim rebels known as Houthis, backed by forces loyal to Yemen's ex-president, took over parts of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa, and forced the government into exile in March
  • The rebels accused the government of corruption and of planning to marginalise their heartland within a proposed federal system
  • Forces loyal to the government and southern militias are fighting back, aided by air strikes led by neighbouring Saudi Arabia

Yemen's humanitarian catastrophe

Who is fighting whom?

Meeting the Houthis and their enemies