SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – SANAA: A suicide bomber linked to Al-Qaeda drove a car laden with explosives into a hospital used as a base by Yemen’s Shiite Houthi movement Sunday, killing at least 15 people, various sources said.
They attack took place in the town of Majzar in Maarib province, east of the capital Sanaa, militant, tribal and local sources said.
“Dozens of dead and wounded from the rejectionist Houthis in a martyrdom operation by Ansar al-Shariah using a booby-trapped car in Maarib,” the militant group, which is the local branch of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, said in a statement on its Twitter account.
The group said the target was al-Jafra hospital, which had been turned by the Houthis into a base for their operations in the area. Local tribesmen said at least 15 people were killed in the attack and more than 50 were wounded.
The bombing struck as hundreds of Yemenis demonstrated in Sanaa demanding that Houthi rebels who had seized control of the capital last week leave, in a first protest against the insurgents since they overran the capital last week.The Houthis have refused to quit Sanaa despite an agreement signed last Sunday to make them a part of the government.
Witnesses said activists chanted slogans against President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi for his apparent weakness before the Houthi fighters.
“You, Hadi, find a solution, or else turn around and depart,” demonstrators chanted.
Witnesses said armed Houthi tribesmen, who had been patrolling the streets and operating checkpoints on key Sanaa intersections, did not try to stop the demonstration.
Yemenis are showing signs of discontent with the Houthis, who have raided a number of homes as they continue to patrol Sanaa, especially around government buildings, and to search passers-by.
On Saturday, Houthi fighters tried to fight their way into the home of Yemen’s intelligence chief in Sanaa, in a clash that left one soldier and two tribesmen dead.
The incident, which also wounded six soldiers and nine Houthis, showed the fragility of the power-sharing deal.
“We have three demands,” Mohammad al-Nuaimi, one of the organizers of the protest, told Reuters. “First to get the militias out, to return weapons that have been seized and to stop the violations committed by the group toward its opponents.”
Nuaimi said the Houthis should be barred from sitting in the government unless they implemented these demands.
The Houthis captured Sanaa Sept. 21 after four days of fighting with soldiers loyal to the Sunni Islah Party.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the U.N. General Assembly Sunday that the situation in Yemen poses a threat to international security, and said that the agreement to form a new government had been wrecked by the Houthis’ failure to give up control of the capital.
Saudi Arabia fears that the accord could benefit its main regional foe Iran, which it sees as an ally of the Houthis, and might also bolster the Al-Qaeda insurgents in the country.
In some of his strongest language about Yemen to date, Prince Saud said that hopes for an end to the crisis had been wrecked by what he suggested was the Houthis’ failure to honor the deal.
“The lack of implementation of the security annex of the agreement and the lack of implementation of the agreement itself in the required manner by the Houthi group has dashed these hopes,” he said in a speech circulated by the Saudi mission at the United Nations in New York.
“ Yemen faces accelerating and extremely dangerous conditions that require us all to look and propose the necessary solutions to confront these unprecedented challenges,” Prince Saud said.