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Dec 10, 2:55 PM EST

Death toll in Yemen suicide bombing rises to 45



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Death toll in Yemen suicide bombing rises to 45

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SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- A suicide bomber on Saturday blew himself up inside an army base in the southern city of Aden, killing 45 soldiers and wounding another 50, security officials said.

They said the bomber detonated a belt of explosives he was wearing amid hundreds of soldiers lining up to collect their salaries in the city's Solban army base.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Waleed Rashed, a soldier in the base, arrived at the scene shortly after the attack to find the area littered with bodies and blood.

"I could hear the wounded soldiers screaming for help," he said.

Private cars were used to ferry the wounded to hospitals before ambulances arrived, he added.

The Islamic State group's Yemeni affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on social media sites known to be sympathetic with the extremist group. It was impossible to immediately verify the claim.

Aden is controlled by a loose coalition of troops loyal to the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, local militias and jihadi groups.

The troops and jihadi groups are fighting Shiite rebels, who in 2014 seized Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and later swept much of northern Yemen. Their advances forced Hadi to flee the country and seek shelter in neighboring Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition, mostly consisting of Gulf Arab states, subsequently intervened in Yemen, launching a punishing air campaign against the rebels and their allies.

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