Sunni radicals blow up 16th century Sufi mosque in Yemen

  • AFP, Agency, Aden
  • Updated: Aug 01, 2016 11:01 IST
People gather among the rubble of a Sufi mosque that was blown up in an attack in Taez, Yemen on July 30, 2016. There were no casualties and no groups have claimed responsibility yet, according to local media. (Reuters Photo)

Sunni Islamist radicals in Yemen have blown up a 16th century mosque housing the shrine of a revered Sufi scholar in the city of Taez, a local official said on Monday.

Gunmen led by a Salafist local chief known as Abu al-Abbas blew up the mosque of Sheikh Abdulhadi al-Sudi on Friday night, the official said, confirming media reports of the attack.

Yemen’s commission for antiquities and museums condemned the destruction of the site that is considered the most famous in Taez.

It said the mosque’s white dome was “one of the biggest domes in Yemen and one of the most beautiful religious sites in old Taez”.

Images of the site before destruction showed a white square-shaped, single-storey structure topped by a large central dome circled by smaller ones.

Sufism is a mystical movement of Islam that is frowned upon by the ultra-conservative Salafist brand of Islam.

Taez city is besieged by Shiite rebels, but the city itself is controlled by a combination of forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and allied militias.

Residents have complained of the growing influence of radical Salafists, who have been imposing curbs on mixing between men and women.

While al Qaeda and Islamic State group jihadists have been under attack by both government and rebel forces as well as US drones, Salafists operate under the banner of pro-government militias fighting the Iran-backed Shiite rebels.

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