At least 47 people were killed by an explosion at an anti-government protest by Houthis in Yemen’s capital on Thursday, the Yemen health ministry said – marking just the latest violence during weeks of sectarian and political strife in the country.
The explosion occurred at Sanaa’s Tahrir Square, where Houthis – a religious minority in Yemen – were engaged in their latest protest against the government, the health ministry said. Eyewitnesses said the explosion came from a suicide bomber who had been near a bank, but the Interior Ministry did not confirm that account.
Houthis, followers of a sect of Shia Islam in a country where Sunni Muslims are the majority, have been protesting for weeks against the government, prompting the resignations of two prime ministers in two weeks.
Among the killed were eight children who participated in the protests, Houthi medical sources said. At least 11 people – all protesters – were taken to hospitals in critical condition, the sources said.
No group immediately announced responsibility for the attack, but al Qaeda – the Sunni Muslim terrorist network – has for months threatened to kill Houthis after Houthi fighters defeated Sunni tribes in several provinces.
Journalist Hakim Almasmari reported and wrote from Sanaa. CNN’s Jason Hanna reported and wrote from Atlanta.