A suicide bomber and a subsequent car bombing killed at least 20 people Wednesday at a mosque in Yemen's rebel-held capital, Sanaa, amid the country's raging civil war, officials said.
The suicide bomber blew himself up inside the mosque during the evening call to prayers, while the car bomb exploded outside an entrance, they said. Medical officials said the death toll may rise with people now in operating rooms in several hospitals.
Witnesses said the car bomb exploded while people were carrying out the wounded from inside the mosque, adding to the casualties.
One witness, Hamid Ali, said the explosions left body parts and bloodied floors in the mosque frequented by both Sunni and Shia Muslims. Those wounded pleaded for help.
In a message circulated on social media, Yemen's local Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant affiliate claimed the bombing, identifying the suicide attacker as Quay al-Sanaani and saying the assault was revenge against the Shia rebels known as Houthis that hold Sanaa. The Associated Press could not independently verify the message, though it resembled other claims of responsibility by the group and was shared by ISIL sympathizers.
The ISIL affiliate in Yemen has carried out similar attacks targeting mosques, including a series of suicide bombings on March 20 in Sanaa that killed 137 people and wounding 345.
Yemen has been mired in violence since the Houthis captured Sanaa last September.
The Houthis are fighting alongside army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against forces loyal to exiled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi as well as southern separatists and local militias. A Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition has been launching airstrikes against the rebels since March.
The conflict has killed over 2,100 civilians, according to the United Nations.
The Associated Press