ISIS claims deadly Aden attacks on Arab troops

People watch as smoke billows from al-Qasr hotel after it was hit by explosions in the western suburbs of Yemen's southern port city of Aden

People watch as smoke billows from al-Qasr hotel after it was hit by explosions in the western suburbs of Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, October 6, 2015. Unidentified assailants fired missiles at an Aden hotel housing Yemeni officials and at a Gulf military base in Aden on Tuesday, a government spokesman and residents said, in the biggest attack on the government since it retook the city from Houthi foes in July. REUTERS/Stringer

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group said it was behind the deadly attacks Tuesday on the government headquarters and positions of the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni city of Aden that killed at least 15.

Four suicide bombings hit the targets, the extremist group said in an online statement.

ISIS said two attacks targeting the government headquarters at Al-Qasr hotel were carried out using bomb-laden vehicles driven by members it identified as Abu Saad al-Adani and Abu Mohammed al-Sahli.

The jihadist group, which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and has affiliates elsewhere in the region, said soldiers were killed in these attacks, without specifying how many.

At least 15 soldiers from the Saudi-led Arab coalition and its Yemeni allies have been killed in several attacks in Aden on Tuesday, the official WAM news agency of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported on its Twitter feed.

Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, who escaped the attack on the Al-Qasr, wrote on his Facebook page that two rockets had hit the hotel while other rockets fell elsewhere.

ISIS said a third suicide bomber, Aws al-Adani, drove a bomb-laden armored vehicle into a “central operations headquarters of Saudi and Emirati forces, killing dozens.”

Meanwhile, Abu Hamza al-Sanaani blew up a UAE-held military position using another armored vehicle, the group said.

The Emirati WAM news agency has reported that the attacks were carried out by the Iran-backed Houthi militia and their allies.

The rebels “targeted the government headquarters and several military positions (and) left 15 Arab coalition and Yemeni resistance martyrs,” said WAM.

The news agency said four Emirati soldiers were among the coalition forces that were killed and that several others were wounded.

The coalition said, in a statement published on the Saudi SPA news agency, that the attacks killed three Emiratis and one Saudi soldier.

It said Katyusha rockets had been used, and that coalition forces “responded to the source of fire and destroyed the vehicles” used to launch the assaults.

Tuesday’s claim is the first from ISIS for an attack against the Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing Iran-backed Shiite rebels since March.

Previously it only claimed attacks against Shiite mosques in Yemen.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are among other Arab states taking part in a U.S.-led coalition pounding ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

On Sep. 4, a rebel missile attack in the eastern Yemeni province of Marib killed 67 coalition troops, including 52 Emirati soldiers.

Yemen’s Vice President Khaled Bahah, who is also the country’s Prime Minister, was staying at al-Qasr Hotel since his return to the liberated city of Aden. (Reuters)

The explosions hit a hotel housing Yemeni officials and a Gulf military base in Aden, a government spokesman and residents said, in the biggest attack on the government since it retook the city from its Houthi foes in July.

Earlier in the day, a hotel where Yemen’s Vice President had been staying at in Aden was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades early Tuesday morning, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Yemen’s Vice President Khaled Bahah, who is also the country’s Prime Minister, was staying at al-Qasr Hotel since his return to the liberated city of Aden on September 16 along with several members of his cabinet. Officials reported that Bahah had survived the attack unhurt.

Bahah’s return from exile in Saudi Arabia follows that of several other Yemeni ministers who relocated to Aden from the kingdom in the weeks after the city’s recapture. Bahah made a brief visit to Aden on Aug. 1.

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