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Suicide Bombing In Yemen Kills At Least 54; Attack Claimed By Islamic State

Yemenis inspect the site of a suicide car bombing at an army recruitment center in Aden, Yemen, on Monday.
Saleh al-Obeidi
AFP/Getty Images
Yemenis inspect the site of a suicide car bombing at an army recruitment center in Aden, Yemen, on Monday.

A suicide bombing in Yemen has killed at least 54 people in the southern city of Aden, The Associated Press reports, citing Yemen's health ministry.

Earlier the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, posted on Twitter that one of their hospitals had received 45 wounded and was treating another 60-some wounded.

The attack has been claimed by the Islamic State, NPR's Alison Meuse reports, and an ISIS-affiliated news outlet says the bombing targeted an army recruitment center.

"Aden is the temporary home of Yemen's government, which was ousted from the capital by Shiite Houthi rebels a year and a half ago," Alison notes.

A civil war in Yemen has pitted pro-government forces — with air support from a Saudi-led, U.S.-supported coalition — against the Houthi rebels. The air strikes have been criticized for killing civilians as well as militants.

Thousands of people have died in the conflict, and millions have been internally displaced.

"But it's not just two warring sides," Merrit Kennedy explained on the Two-Way earlier this year. "Southern separatists and powerful tribes also have a stake in the fight. And an al-Qaida branch and a burgeoning ISIS affiliate have benefited from the violence."

Mired in war, government forces have struggled to contain the spread of those Sunni extremist groups, Alison reports.

The attack on Monday was a car bomb, The Associated Press reports, which killed pro-government troops preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia. The explosion was also located near two schools and a mosque in Aden, the AP writes.

It comes several weeks after U.N.-mediated peace talks in Kuwait were suspended "with no signs of progress," the wire service notes.

Just last week, Doctors Without Borders — the same group treating victims in Aden — pulled out of hospitals in Yemen's north, citing the threat posed by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition.

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Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.