News / Middle East

Car Blast Kills 17 Shi'ites in Northern Yemen

A suicide carbomber blew himself up alongside a religious procession in northern Yemen. At least 17 were killed and 15 wounded in the blast which observers say could unravel a fragile truce between rebels and the Yemeni government signed in February.

The bomber struck worshippers on one of the most sacred holidays of the year to Yemeni Shi'ites. The blast wreaked havoc during the celebration of al Ghadeer, wounding several in an already volatile northern Yemen.

A spokesman for the area's Huthi rebels said his group was targeted in the attack, in al-Jawf province.

The attack on the Shi'ite Houthi procession in the Jawf province could undermine the fragile ten-month old truce between the government and rebels loyal to Abdel Malek al Houthi. Several top Houthi leaders were reportedly killed in the blast.

Yemen's weak central government faces rebels in the north and south as well as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Tensions have been rising in northern Yemen in recent days, with reports of scattered clashes, as well as bloodshed.

Jamal al Najjar of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees says that a number of people have been killed and still others have fled since fighting began on November 13th.

"On the 13th of November, clashes erupted between pro-government tribes and Houthi followers in Kadebar and Munabah districts [along] the border with Saudi Arabia. Fighting stopped during the Eid [al Adha] holiday after tribal mediation, but then it resumed on the 20th of November. More than 20 people were killed and a number of people were displaced to Saudi Arabia."

Greg Johnsen, a Yemen scholar at Princeton University, says that it is too early to tell if al Qaida is actually responsible for Wednesday's attack, but that sectarian strife appears to be growing intense in northern Yemen:

"There have been previous bombs that have [gone] off up in the north in Saada and al Jawf in the region where the Houthis are most active, in previous years, that looked very much like al Qaida and in the end turned out not to be an al Qaida attack. That being said, there has been a great deal of back-and-forth between the Houthis and al Qaida, almost shades of what we saw coming out of Iraq in some of the Shia-Sunni clashes at the height of the war. So, I think if this does turn out to be al Qaida and if the Houthis retaliate, then it could be a very, very dangerous situation."

Johnsen also argues that a fresh conflict could erupt in the long series of wars between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels, which have been going on since 2004:

"Any clashes like this, if it does turn out that al Qaida was behind it, [suggests] that the government would be drawn in, just given all the different linkages. There are so many different individuals, whether it be through tribal connections, whose relatives are employed by the state, or military officials that got killed who also happen to be part of a particular tribe. I just don't see this as a two-sided clash between al Qaida and the Houthis….I think the government would be involved, probably against its better wishes."

A cease-fire was reached last February between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels after intense mediation by the Emir of Qatar. Six wars between the government and the rebels have ended in a stalemate, causing the displacement of close to 300,000 people.

NEW: Follow our Middle East stories on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' at 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid