A car laden with explosives was driven into a compound in the port city of Aden
A car laden with explosives was driven into a compound in the port city of Aden © Reuters

Isis has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in southern Yemen on Monday that killed dozens of pro-government forces.

The attack, one of the bloodiest in the war-torn country, targeted a military training camp used by a militia in the port city of Aden, the launch pad of the Gulf-backed government’s civil war effort. At least 25 and as many as 60 people have died, many of them recruits, according to local reports.

Militant groups such as al-Qaeda and Isis have expanded their reach by exploiting the chaos in Yemen amid the brutal Saudi Arabia-led air and ground campaign which aims to reassert government control after Shia Houthi rebels ousted president Abd Mansoor Hadi in 2015.

Pro-government militias, backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have repelled Houthi forces from the south, but militants and tribal backers still operate in vast tracts of barren desert and mountainous regions of the south.

The US has been leading a diplomatic effort to bolster UN efforts to enforce a ceasefire between Saudi-backed pro-government forces and the Iran-allied Houthi militia and their allies loyal to former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

US secretary of state John Kerry said after talks with Saudi officials in Jeddah last week that the war, which started almost 18 months ago, had gone on for too long.

Hopes for an end to the conflict that has killed 6,600 people were raised when the Houthi governing council said on Sunday it would resume peace talks if Saudi-backed forces stopped air strikes and besieging Houthi territory.

They were responding to a peace plan, modelled on a UN resolution, which calls for the Houthi forces to withdraw from the capital Sana’a, form a government of national unity, hand over heavy weaponry and stop shelling southern Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia says the war is necessary to restore the internationally recognised government-in-exile and to stop Iranian interference spreading even further in the Arab world.

But Riyadh has also come under criticism for its air campaign, which has been accused of targeting hospitals and religious sites, exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in one of the poorest Arab countries.

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