Yemen-based al-Qaida claims responsibility for twin bomb attacks on northern Shiites

Yemen-based al-Qaida claims responsibility for twin bomb attacks on northern Shiites

Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Sunday in a statement posted on Jihadist forums claimed responsibility for last week's twin bomb attacks on the Houthi-led Shiite rebel followers in north Yemen, Xinhua reported.

"We have formed special units to defend our brothers from the Sunni sect, these units were designed to uproot the despicable plants (Houthi Shiite rebels) in Saada province that were seeded by the Shiites in Iran," AQAP said in their statement.

The AQAP said the two bomb attacks "came after the Sunni tribes repeatedly called for Mujahideen to help them against Shiite rebels after the Yemeni and Saudi governments failed to combat the Houthi-led Shiite rebels."

"After that, the Mujahideen of AQAP decided to start the twin bomb attacks in order to defend our Sunni brothers who were forced to flee their homes and villages in the north due to the Houthi Shiite aggression," AQAP added.

In the statement, the AQAP also "called for youths of Sunni tribes to join its units and camps to defend themselves and Sunni tribes in the north," saying "those twin martyrdom operations were the first of a series of future attacks being prepared against the Houthi Shiite rebels."

On Nov. 26, a local councilman in Saada province told Xinhua by phone that at least 40 people were killed when a car bomb hit followers of Houthi Shiite rebels in a convoy to the funeral of Bader al-Deen al-Houthi, a spiritual leader of the group.

On Nov. 24, a car bomb explosion hit a Yemeni Shiite convoy in the country's northern province of Al-Jouf, killing at least 16 people including the attacker and wounding 12 others, according to another provincial councilman.

An official of the Interior Ministry in Sanaa told Xinhua that the attacks bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida.

Yemen has witnessed sporadic battles since 2004 between government troops and rebels. The government has been accusing the rebels of seeking to re-establish the clerical rule overthrown by the 1962 revolution that created the Yemeni republic.

On Aug. 26, the Yemeni government and Shiite rebels signed an agreement in Doha to cement the February fragile ceasefire, which aimed to end a six-year sporadic conflict. However, both sides repeatedly trade accusations over breaching the truce which still holds so far.

The government and rebels witnessed a shaky truce since February 2010, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned last Tuesday that there had been an "alarming escalation" in fighting in the region.

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