Three people were killed in Sanaa on Wednesday after a suicide bomber drove a car filled with explosives into the residence of the Iranian ambassador to Yemen, officials said. Paramedics rushed to the area to attend to the casualties after the blast, which ripped a hole through the building, Reuters reported.
At least three dead bodies were pulled out of the blast location while three wounded people were taken from the area, reports said. The exact casualty count was not yet known but Abdullah Mahmoud, a soldier, told Reuters that Yemeni and Iranian guards were among those killed. It was not clear if the diplomat was inside the well-guarded residence.
A report from The Associated Press (AP) said that at least two people were killed and they were security guards of Iranian ambassador Hossein Niknam, who presented his credentials to the Yemeni Foreign Ministry just last week.
"The Sanaa explosion didn't harm any Iranian diplomats. Only material damage was inflicted," Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told Tasnim news agency, according to AP, adding that the ambassador was not hurt.
Yemen has witnessed an increase in violence following clashes between Shia Muslim rebels, who took control of Sanaa in September, and Sunni tribesmen, as well as the country’s al Qaeda faction, Reuters reported. The U.S. and Yemen’s neighbors suspect Shia Iran's hand in the sudden rise in violence in Sunni Yemen, but Tehran has denied any involvement, Reuters reported.
On Nov. 18, Mansour al-Haidary, a senior member of the Islamist Islah Party, which has clashed with Iran-backed Houthi rebels, was assassinated in southern Yemen.