The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the car bombing in the southern city that killed the newly-appointed governor and five of his guards. The Islamic State group took responsibility on Sunday for a car bombing attack in Yemen that killed Maj. Gen. Jaafar Mohammed Saad, the governor of the southern Aden city who was a close ally of the Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and five of his bodyguards. In a statement through its websites, the Islamic State group said it detonated a car loaded with explosives targeting Saad's envoy in Aden's Tawahi district and vowed more attacks against "the heads of apostasy in Yemen.” Due to the deteriorating security situation in the impoverished country, the Islamic State group has been gaining a foothold in the country as they target both government institutions and the mainly-Shiite rebels. The Islamic State group formally announced its presence in Yemen in November. The extremist Sunni group sees Shiite Muslims in Yemen and around the world as heretics who must be killed.
In October, the government of Prime Minister Khaled Bahah was forced to relocate to Saudi Arabia after four coordinated suicide bombings by Islamic State group killed at least 15 people, including four Emirati soldiers. Starting November, the Islamic State group in Yemen unleashed attacks against Shiite mosques, neighborhoods and rebel positions. Earlier this year, Ansarullah rebels, mostly of the Houthi Shiite community, launched an offensive against Hadi’s Saudi-allied government, taking control of several cities, including Aden, forcing the president to flee to the Saudi capital before returning last month. A few months after the rebels gained control, Saudi Arabia and 10 of its regional allies launched an operation in March against the rebels in a bid to restore Hadi. Hadi returned to Yemen last month to oversee the fight against the rebels and establish Aden as his government’s stronghold. Few months ago, Aden was recaptured by the Hadi’s forces with the help of the Saudi-led coalition. Saad, who has been an army general for decades, helped Hadi’s forces in recapturing Aden. He was appointed as the governor of Aden in October by Hadi in a bid to consolidate his power there.
His death is a seen as a blow to the Saudi coalition efforts in Yemen and to Hadi’s attempt of consolidating power in the city. Saad's death comes a day after the country's United Nations envoy held talks with Hadi in Aden aimed at kickstarting peace talks between the warring sides. The U.N. says more than 5,700 people, half of them civilians, have been killed since the beginning of the conflict and over 1 million people displaced.