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White House spokesman: US strongly condemns bombings in Yemen

National Yemen

A wounded child in Sana’a attack

The White House cannot confirm a claim by Islamic State that suicide bombers who attacked two mosques in Yemen were affiliated with the militant group, a spokesman said on Friday.

“There is not, at this point, clear evidence of an operational link between these extremists in Yemen and ISIL fighters in Iraq and Syria,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, using a different acronym for Islamic State.

Earnest condemned the attacks in Sana’a, which killed 126 people and wounded 260, and noted that claims of responsibility are sometimes made to advance propaganda efforts.

He said the United States was trying to find out whether there were “command-and-control structures in place” to show any involvement by Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria. The group claimed responsibility for the attacks, in which four bombers wearing explosive belts targeted worshippers in and outside the crowded mosques.

The White House spokesman said the attackers had tried to “capitalize on the chaos and instability inside of Yemen to carry out these acts of violence.”

From his part,  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks against two mosques in Yemen today that have reportedly left dozens of people dead and wounded.

The Secretary-General, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, deplored the killing of civilians and called on all Yemeni sides “to immediately cease all hostile actions and exercise maximum restraint.”

Yemeni stakeholders are currently involved in UN-brokered talks to help facilitate peace in the country.

The statement said all sides must abide by their stated commitments to resolve differences by peaceful means, and should engage in good faith in the ongoing UN-facilitated negotiations in order to reach a consensus agreement.

“The Secretary-General urges all to remain fully engaged with his Special Adviser on Yemen so as to enable him to continue to exercise the Secretary-General’s good offices in close cooperation with the members of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] and the Security Council.”

In Sana’a, MSF sent medical supplies to five Hospitals in Sana’a receiving most patients- Al-Kuwait Hospital, Al-Thawra Hospital, Military Hospital Al-Moayad Hospital and Al-Jumhori Hospital. The supplies included anesthesia drugs, dressing kits, medications, antibiotics, IV Fluids, and other supplies. MSF also sent two dressing kits to Marib on the same day.

The Spokesperson of the High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini urges all parties to return to dialogue and inclusive negotiations, in particular those conducted by the UN, and will continue to work with all regional players to constructively support current efforts to reach an inclusive political settlement. In this context, the release of Prime Minister Bahah and of other members of his government was a step in the right direction.

“The bombings against several mosques in Sana’a during Friday prayer, as well as the fighting witnessed in Aden and yesterday’s aerial attack on President Hadi’s compound clearly aim at derailing further Yemen’s transition process” said the EU statement.

The EU stands by the Yemeni people at this critical juncture and reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting Yemen in its transition.