Suicide bombers struck two mosques Friday, leaving at least 120 worshippers dead and another 300 wounded in Sanaa, Yemen.
CNN reported that at least four terrorists attacked the al-Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques during noon prayers. Witnesses claimed blasts struck the inside of each mosque and then drove victims into follow-up explosions outsides.
According to CNN the blasts targeted mosques associated with the Houthis, a Shiite group that recently captured Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen from the government. It was not immediately clear who was behind the mass slaughter Friday.
The blasts were the latest violence in a country once hailed by the Obama administration as a place where its counterterrorism strategy succeeded. Yemen's former government was a partner in fighting the local al Qaeda affiliate and had also accepted detainees being transferred from Guantanamo Bay.
Following the escalating violence, the State Department suspended its embassy operations in Yemen last month citing safety concerns. It evacuated diplomatic personnel from Sanaa, calling the situation there “extremely concerning.”
Houthi forces subsequently ejected Yemen’s former president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, from Sanaa last month. The ousted leader has since fortified in Aden, his home city in Yemen’s southern portion.
Repubilcans have seized on the turmoil to blast President Obama's policies.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Juan Williams: It's Trump vs. McConnell for the GOP's future Biden's year two won't be about bipartisanship MORE (R-S.C.) said Yemen was proof of Obama's “failing foreign policy.” The potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate said the chaos in Yemen provided fertile ground for terrorists.
“Yemen has been of strategic importance to the United States, and I fear these latest developments will create a vacuum that will ultimately benefit al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),” Graham had said in a statement then.
Graham characterized AQAP as a “committed enemy” of the U.S. last month. He said the group “continues to harbor a burning desire to attack the United States, and we must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves from them.”
The BBC noted Friday that the local al Qaeda affiliate has committed similar suicide attacks against Houthi supporters in the past. It added that Yemen’s internal strife has opened the door for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to gain a foothold in the country.
The BBC said some ISIS supporters on Twitter claimed Friday that the group was behind the attack. That claim could not be verified, it added.