'Blood Running Like a River' as Suicide Bombs Hit Yemen

Triple bombings hit Sanaa mosques during midday prayers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2015 7:46 AM CDT
Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, stand near a damaged car after a bomb attack in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, March 20, 2015.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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(Newser) – Triple suicide bombers hit a pair of mosques crowded with worshippers in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, today, causing heavy casualties, according to witnesses. The attackers targeted mosques frequented by Shiite rebels, who've controlled the capital since September. A report on the rebel-owned al-Masirah TV channel said the bombers attacked the Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques during midday prayers, traditionally the most crowded time of the week. Casualty numbers differ, with Reuters reporting at least 16 have been killed; CNN says 25, AP says 46, and AFP claims at least 55 have died, according to medics. The attacks come a day after intense gun battles in the southern city of Aden, between rival troops loyal to Yemen's former and current president, left 13 dead and forced closure of the city's international airport.

Witnesses said that at least two suicide bombers attacked inside the Badr mosque. One walked inside the mosque and detonated his device, causing panic as dozens of worshippers rushed toward the outside gates. A second suicide bomber then attacked amid panicked crowds trying to escape. One witness at the al-Hashoosh mosque, located in Sanaa's northern district, said that he was thrown 6 feet by the blast. "The heads, legs, and arms of the dead people were scattered on the floor of the mosque," Mohammed al-Ansi told the AP, adding, "Blood is running like a river." Al-Ansi added that many of those who didn't die in the explosion were seriously injured by shattered glass falling from the mosque's windows. The Shiite TV network aired footage from inside al-Hashoosh mosque, where screaming volunteers used bloodied blankets to carry victims. Among the dead: a small child.

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