Sanaa : Eleven people were killed and 44 injured in a powerful explosion outside a mosque in the volatile northwestern Yemeni province of Saada Friday, police officials said.
The officials told DPA that a booby-trapped motorcycle blew up outside the Bin Salman mosque shortly after the weekly prayers in the provincial city of Saada.
Witnesses said the bomb went off as worshippers were leaving the mosque.
“Dozens of injured people were seen lying outside the mosque, and several cars were burned by the blast,” a witness said in a telephone call from Saada, some 230 km north of Sanaa.
He said ambulances were seen rushing injured worshippers to hospitals. The police officials said earlier that nine people were killed and 32 injured.
Local sources in Saada said a regional army commander, Askar Ali al-Zuail, was the target of the attack, but he survived unharmed.
Al-Zuail is an aide to Brigadier General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the military commander of the north-western region, who has been leading the battle against the Shiite rebels in Saada since mid-2004.
In a statement carried by official Saba news agency, the interior ministry accused the Shiite rebels of carrying out the attack.
The leader of the rebel group, however, denied any connection to the bombing.
“We criticise and condemn this regrettable act … and extend condolences and sympathy to the victims’ families,” al-Houthi said in a statement sent to journalists by email.
Brigadier Muhammad al-Qahm, chief commander of police forces in Saada, said a soldier, a child and a woman were among those killed.
The attack comes one day after four army troops were killed and several others injured after Shiite rebels attacked an army personnel carrier in Saada.