Yemen: Governor, 6 bodyguards killed; ISIS claims responsibility

Story highlights

ISIS claims responsibility for the attack

Yemen is struggling with problems of ISIS, al Qaeda, Houthi rebels and president's ouster

Sanaa, Yemen CNN  — 

The governor of the major Yemeni city of Aden and six bodyguards were killed in a car bombing Sunday – an attack ISIS said it committed.

Gov. Jaafar Saad was at the branch of the Ministry of Telecommunication in the southern city of Aden when the blast occurred, local officials said.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement attributed to the group circulated on social media.

It’s the latest bout of chaos in a country grappling not only with ISIS but also al Qaeda, Houthi rebels and a president’s ouster.

A 4-way power struggle

Aden became Yemen’s de-facto capital after Houthi rebels ousted President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi from the capital, Sanaa, in March.

Saad, the slain governor, was viewed as a liberal member of Hadi’s government – which made him an ideological target for terrorists trying to take advantage of the power vacuum in Yemen.

Al Qaeda already controls of much of southern Yemen. But the rival terror group ISIS has been trying to gain more territory and influence in the country.

Meanwhile, the Houthi rebels who prompted Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia are still locked in a battle against government forces.

Other countries involved

A Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing Houthi-held areas since March, trying to support Yemeni government fighters.

But the fight has been arduous. Armored vehicles funded by Gulf nations to try to stop Houthi rebels are now controlled by al Qaeda, according to a top Aden security official in the governor’s office. Forces loyal to Hadi previously controlled the vehicles.

And civilians have suffered tremendously in the impoverished nation, which has turned into a haven for Islamic terrorists.

Yemen fast facts

Journalist Hakim Almasmari reported from Sanaa; CNN’s Holly Yan reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Yousuf Basil contributed to this report.