Yemeni Governor Killed By Car Bomb; Islamic State Claims Responsibility

A large explosion from a car bomb killed Jaafar Mohammed Saad, governor of Yemen’s southern Aden province and six of his bodyguards on Sunday, December 6. A Yemeni affiliate branch of the Islamic State terrorist group has posted a statement on social media claiming responsibility, saying the bomb was concealed in a parked car on the convoy’s route.

Governor Saad’s convoy was traveling to his office in the southern port city when a car driven by a suicide bomber rammed his car and a powerful explosive detonated nearby. Several others were also wounded in the suicide bombing assassination. Authorities are currently investigating the exact details of the explosion. In the statement, the IS affiliate claimed they were targeting a “tyrant” and ominously warned the “heads of the infidels” that they would “chop off all their rotten heads,” U.S. News reported.

Yemeni Governor Killed Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, in 2010. [Photo by Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images]If it proves to be true that the suicide attack was carried out by the Islamic State, it would be the most high-profile assassination committed by ISIS in Yemen. The killing of one of the country’s top regional governors is a significant gain for the terrorist organization in the war-torn state. U.S. News further reported that ISIS-affiliated militant groups have been stepping up attacks in Yemen lately, including other targeted suicide car bombings and attacks on mosques.

“IS has claimed a series of bombings that killed 159 people and wounded 345 this year in Yemen, according to an AP count. That includes explosions in September targeting worshippers in a mosque in the capital Sanaa that killed more than 20 people, and suicide car bombings targeting exiled Yemeni officials and Saudi and Emirati troops which killed at least 15 people in Aden in October.”

It becomes clear from this pattern that in the midst of the chaotic eight-month civil war in Yemen, ISIS is exploiting the opportunity to seize more territory and commit attacks against their opponents. The Yemeni Civil War involves two factions claiming to be the legitimate government of Yemen with South Yemen separatists and Houthi rebels set against pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

As reported by the Inquisitr, the Saudi intervention into Yemen has been highly controversial due to its civilian casualties. As of now, the rebels control the capital city of Sanaa and large stretches of northern Yemen. The Islamic State announced the founding of its Yemeni branch back in April to take advantage of the situation, primarily seizing territory in the south and east of Yemen. They have since emerged as a powerful rival to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the main insurgent group in the country in recent years.

Yemeni Governor Killed Yemeni President Hadi Visits Berlin in 2012. [Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]Saad was a former general in the army of the Marxist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, or South Yemen, before South Yemen merged with North Yemen in 1990. He fought again for South Yemen during the Yemeni Civil War in 1994, but as a Major-General fighting on behalf of the government forces in defending the city of Aden from the Houthi insurgency. He was appointed to the governorship of the Aden Governorate in October of this year.

Reuters reported that the explosion that killed Governor Saad could be heard up to 10 km (seven miles) away. Pictures of the flaming wreckage were soon shared on social media.

The murder of Gov. Saad is likely to complicate United Nations efforts to bring both of the warring parties in the civil conflict to the negotiating table for a peace process. The U.N. estimates more than 5,700 people have been killed in Yemen, half of them civilians.

[Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images]