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Sun 6 Dec 2015 01:56 PM

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ISIL claims it killed Aden governor in Yemen car blast

Group said it detonated an explosives-laden car as convoy was passing in a western district

ISIL claims it killed Aden governor in Yemen car blast

The governor of
Aden was killed in a car bomb attack on Sunday claimed by ISIL in Yemen's
southern port city, where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has returned to
oversee a war against Iran-allied Houthis.

A local
official and residents said at least six members of General Jaafar Mohammed
Saad's entourage also died in the attack, which targeted the governor as he was
headed to work. Several other people were wounded.

ISIL, in a
statement posted on a messaging service it uses, said it detonated a car laden
with explosives aimed at Saad's convoy in Aden's Tawahi district and promised
more operations against "the heads of apostasy in Yemen". A local
official and residents said earlier on Sunday a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle
into the governor's car.

The group's
local branch has stepped up operations since the outbreak of civil war in
Yemen, emerging as a forceful rival to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP), the main militant group in the country in recent years.

It has launched
spectacular attacks on security bases and on mosques run by Houthi forces who
control the capital, Sanaa. The Houthis, who follow the Zaydi branch of Shi'ite
Islam, have been fighting a coalition of mainly Gulf Arab forces, which began
air strikes against them in March.

The attack came
one day after assailants killed a senior army officer and a judge who had
presided over the trial of militants suspected in the bombing of the U.S.
warship USS Cole in Aden in 2000, in two separate attacks in the city.

In October,
four suicide bombers detonated car bombs at a temporary Yemeni government
headquarters and two Arab coalition outposts, killing more than a dozen people.

"Foot-dragging
in implementing security measures paves the way for hardliners to carry out
such attacks," said Ashraf Ali Mahmoud, a local activist.

Sunday's
explosion could be heard about 10 km (seven miles) away, residents said. Photos
posted by local news websites showed a car in flames with a plume of smoke
rising from it.

The victims
were taken to the Jumhouriya Hospital, the main state medical facility in Aden
which Saad had re-opened in a ceremony two days earlier.

Security had
been a main concern for Hadi and his Arab allies since he returned to Aden last
month to oversee an offensive by his forces and Arab allies to drive the
Houthis from the strategic city of Taiz.

In October, the
government of Prime Minister Khaled Bahah was forced to relocate to Saudi
Arabia after four coordinated suicide bombings by ISIL killed at least 15
people, including four Emirati soldiers.

Saad had been a
general in the army of the former southern Yemen before the Marxist state
merged with northern Yemen in 1990. He was appointed governor in October.

Local officials
said Saad, who fought in the 1994 civil war for southern forces against the
northerners, had lived in exile in Egypt and Britain before he returned earlier
this year at Hadi's request.

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