At least 23 people were killed today in Yemen’s northern Jawf Province, when a car bomb attacked a Shi’ite religious procession in the region. Of the slain at least 12 were said to have been fighters with the Houthi separatist movement.
The Houthis, a group of Shi’ite separatists, have been fighting an on-again, off-again civil war with the Yemeni government for years, and late last year the group also clashed with Saudi Arabian troops along the ill-defined border between the two, seizing some border towns briefly.
The Houthis are needless to say riled up about the attack, but particularly troubling are reports from a local tribal leader that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is believed to be responsible. AQAP, another group fighting a civil war against Yemen’s government, is located in the nation’s south.
If true this might suggest that two of Yemen’s most serious civil wars are about to collide, with the AQAP faction aiming to stir up sectarian tensions in the nation’s north. One of the long standing complaints of the Houthis, beyond the lack of roads and medical care in their region, is that the government is perceived to be playing favorites with some ultra-religious Sunni factions, exactly the sort of groups which would be on good terms with AQAP.