Unknown attackers blew up an abandoned Catholic Church in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden on Wednesday, residents said, days after Islamic State militants assassinated the city's governor.
Yemen's embattled government is based in Aden but has struggled to impose its authority there since its forces, backed by Gulf Arab troops, expelled the Iran-allied Houthi fighters, who control the capital Sanaa.
Islamist militants carry out frequent attacks, and have seized government buildings and occasionally deploy on the streets unhindered. Nearly 6,000 people have died since Yemen's civil war sparked a Saudi-led military intervention in March.
"The gunmen, who were probably extremists, blew up the Catholic church in the Mualla district of Aden," one resident told Reuters. "We heard a strong explosion which sent a big plume of smoke into the air and afterward saw that the building was completely destroyed," he added.
The Immaculate Conception Church built during the British colonial era in the 1960s was already severely damaged after a Saudi-led coalition air strike in May, a statement from the Catholic Church at the time said.
The Houthi group says it led a revolution against the corrupt government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, but his administration and Gulf allies say they carried out a coup and are advancing Iranian influence in the Arab world.
Once a cosmopolitan city home to thriving Hindu and Christian communities, Aden has gone from one of the world's busiest ports as a key hub of the British empire to a largely lawless backwater.
Its small Christian population left long ago. Unknown assailants had previously vandalized a Christian cemetery and torched another Aden church this year.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for a car bomb which killed governor Jaafar Mohammed Saad on Sunday.
His replacement, Aidarus al-Zubaidi, pledged on Friday to "cleanse Aden of the partisans of chaos."
"We won't allow chaos and a security vacuum which allows these elements to commit their crimes to continue in Aden," al-Zubaidi said in a statement broadcast of state TV.
© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!
- Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details