25 Nov 2012

Bomb kills Yemenis marking Shi'ite Muslim festival

10:48 am on 25 November 2012

At least three Shi'ite Muslims have been killed by a bomb attack targeting a crowd at a religious ceremony in Yemen.

The attackers targeted the first public commemoration of the anniversary of the death of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in half a century.

Medics and local officials said 13 other people were also wounded in the attack on a hall where the Shi'ites were leaving the ceremony after the Ashura rituals which recall the death of Imam Hussein in Iraq in 680 AD.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but al Qaeda and its affiliates, comprising Sunni Muslim militants, have targeted Shi'ites in the past.

Ashura rituals have been banned in Yemen since the 1,000-year Zaydi Imamate rule was overthrown in a coup in 1962.

Yemeni Shi'ites, who follow the Zaydi creed, have gained strength in Sanaa since President Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down following an uprising against his 33 years in office earlier this year.