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Double bomb attack kills at least 20 at mosque in Yemen

Car bomb reportedly hit outside the mosque after a suicide bomber detonated explosives belt inside during evening prayers
The aftermath of a car bomb that targeted the same mosque in July, killing 5 (AFP)

Worshippers were killed and injured in Yemen on Wednesday when suicide bombers targeted a mosque in Sanaa.

Twenty people were killed, according to the Yemeni Health Ministry, which is currently controlled by Houthi rebels. BBC Arabic put the number of dead as high as 28.

ِA further seventy-five people were injured in the dual attack, according to Sky News Arabia.

Al-Mu’ayyad Mosque, in the northern district of al-Jiraf, was rocked by the explosion when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt as worshippers gathered for evening prayers.

Social media users shared graphic images said to be taken at the scene, showing desctruction and bloodshed inside the mosque.

A car bomb went off outside the same site minutes later, killing those who had flocked to the mosque to help people hit by the first attack.

Local news site al-Masdar Online reported that paramedics were among those killed by the second attack.

A group calling itself Sanaa Province and claiming to be affiliated to Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing.

In a statement circulated on social media, supporters of the group said the attack was launched as part of a "wave of military security operations in revenge for Muslims against the rafidi Houthis".

The mosque is known to be frequented by supporters of the Houthis, the northern rebel movement that seized control of the capital last September, and went on to take significant territory in the rest of the country.

Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawwakol Karman, who has been living in exile in Saudi Arabia after being targeted by Houthi rebels, condemned the bombing in a statement released shortly after the attack.

“I hold the failed coup-launching militias who are in power [the Houthis] responsible,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

The site targeted on Wednesday also reportedly lies close to the house of a Houthi commander.

A previous blast at the same mosque in June, which killed five people, was claimed by a group calling itself Islamic State.

After months of Saudi-led airstrikes targeting the Houthi rebels, often said to have backing from Saudi foe Iran, militant groups in Yemen including al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have managed to gain a greater foothold in many areas.

Militants have launched a number of deadly attacks at mosques in the capital in recent months, mostly targeting various places of worship used by followers of various Shia sects.

Many supporters of the Houthis follow a strand of Shiism known as Zaydism, which is in fact closer to Sunni Islam in many of its practices.