Yemen suicide bomb kills dozens of soldiers in payday queue

Yemenis gather at al-Sawlaba base in Aden"s al-Arish district on December 18, 2016, after a suicide bomber targeted a crowd of soldiers.Image copyright

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A soldier stands at the site of the blast

A suicide bomber has killed at least 23 soldiers and wounded many more in the southern port city of Aden in Yemen.

Reports say the soldiers were queuing up to receive salaries near a military base when the attacker struck.

The bomber immersed himself in the crowd of soldiers at Al-Solban base in Al-Arish district, a military official said.

The bombing follows a near identical attack at the base earlier in the week, in which 48 soldiers were killed.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday, but the city has previously been targeted by jihadist groups in the region.

In August, a suicide attack in the city claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) killed at least 70 people at an army recruiting centre in the city.

Aden is controlled by various factions loyal to the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. They are battling the Shia Houthi rebels and their allies, who seized Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2014 and later much of north-western Yemen.

IS and al-Qaeda have taken advantage of the conflict to bolster their presence in the south of the country and IS has in recent years attempted to supplant al-Qaeda as the dominant jihadist group there.

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The bomb targeted soldiers queuing for their pay

The conflict in Yemen has killed more than 7,000 people, most of them civilians, according to the UN, and exacted a devastating toll on the population.

A Saudi-led air coalition supported by the US and UK has carried out a widespread bombing campaign, and is accused by international observers of targeting residential areas.

The scale of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is enormous – more than three million people have left their homes and 18.8 million people – 69% of the population – need humanitarian assistance.

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