A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a military camp in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday morning, killing at least 48 soldiers, a Health Ministry official said, and Isis’ Yemen-based affiliate has claimed responsibility.
Abdel-Nasr al-Wali, a Health Ministry official based in Aden, told The Associated Press that 84 people were injured in the blast.
Security officials said that preliminary investigations showed the blast was the work of a bomber wearing an explosives-laden vest.
The attack took place as soldiers lined up to collect their salaries, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
The Isis affliate claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on Isis-run Aamaq news agency.
It identified the bomber as Abu Hashim al-Radfani and published a photo of him smiling and wearing a white vest as he stood next to the group’s black flag. It also posted photos it said were of the blast that killed nearly 70. It was not possible to immediately verify the claim.
The blast took place at the same military base that was also struck by a suicide bomber on earlier this month on 10 December, killing 57 soldiers. The Isis Yemeni affiliate also claimed responsibility for that attack.
In addition to Isis, Yemen is the longtime home to an active branch of al-Qaeda, widely regarded as the most dangerous of the international extremist group.
Aden is controlled by a loose coalition of troops loyal to the internationally-recognised government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, local militias and jihadi groups.
They are battling Shia rebels, known as Houthis, who seized Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in 2014 and later swept across much of northern Yemen.
The Houthi’s advances forced Hadi to flee the country and seek shelter in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi-led coalition, mostly consisting of Gulf Arab states, subsequently intervened in Yemen in early 2015, launching a punishing air campaign against the rebels and their allies.