SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A pair of bombings carried out by Islamic State militants killed at least 45 people in Yemen's southern city of Aden on Monday, targeting young men seeking to join the army who gathered at two recruitment centers, security officials said.
One suicide car bomber killed at least 20, while a second bomber on foot detonated an explosives vest at the other recruitment center, killing at least 25. Scores of others were wounded, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
The local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group claimed responsibility for two attacks in a statement posted on social media networks by sympathizers, saying a native of Aden it identified as Abu Ali al-Adani was responsible for one of them. It posted a picture of a man using crutches approaching the center followed by before and after shots of the explosion site.
It said that it also detonated an 'explosive device' in another location, and that at least 30 people were killed in the two strikes.
Yemen has for nearly two years been gripped by a war pitting the internationally recognized government against Shiite rebels who control the capital, Sanaa, and are allied with forces loyal to a former president.
The country is also home to active al-Qaida and Islamic State group affiliates.
Monday's blasts underline the precarious security situation in Aden, the country's main port on the Arabian Sea, several months after government forces and allied militiamen backed by a Saudi-led coalition retook the city from the Shiite rebels, also known as the Houthis.
The city has in recent months seen a series of suicide bombings and assassinations mainly targeting army and security forces. Contributing further to the instability in Aden is the recent eviction of northern Yemenis, the work of suspected separatists who seek an independent south.
In a separate incident, the officials said at least 20 people were killed in the city of Taiz when heavy rainfall triggered an avalanche of rocks that hit homes below in the residential Bani Omar district. More victims are still under the rubble, according to officials.
Taiz, one of Yemen's worst battlegrounds, has been divided into zones, some under Houthi control and others held by resistance fighters backed by the internationally recognized government. International relief groups have had only limited access to the city to deliver aid.
Houthis have closed off the entrances to the resistance-held areas, and residents there survive by transporting food, fuel, medicine and other supplies by donkeys that travel on back roads.
Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.