A car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group Sunday killed the governor of Yemen’s secured city Aden, a day after the UN’s envoy visited to press for long-delayed peace talks. A statement posted on Twitter by the jihadist group said it was behind a blast that hit the convoy of Jaafar Saad in the Tawahi neighbourhood of the major port, killing him and eight bodyguards. In a statement carried by the official Saba news agency, Aden security chief General Mohamed Mussad confirmed Saad’s death and said six of his guards were also killed. Images circulated on social media after the attack showed a wrecked car on fire on a main road in the southern city. Saad was only recently appointed governor, and was known to be close to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi who returned to Aden last month after several months in exile in Riyadh. Pro-Hadi forces, aided by a Saudi-led coalition, have battled Iran-backed rebels in Yemen since March, after the insurgents overran the capital Sanaa and advanced south, forcing the government to flee to Saudi Arabia.
Fighting between the Huthi rebels and loyalist forces has plunged the impoverished nation into chaos, whichjihadist groups have exploited to make sweeping gains, particularly in southern regions.
Aden’s Tawahi district has become a known hideout for jihadists, including Al-Qaeda militants. IS has claimed a string of attacks in Yemen, including the bombing of Hadi’s government headquarters in October and multiple suicide attacks on mosques in Sanaa attended by Shiite worshippers that killed 142 people.
It also claimed the killing of 50 soldiers in a November ambush in southeastern Hadramawt province. Its statement on Sunday threatened further attacks.