Four gunmen have killed at least 17 people in an attack an old people’s home in the Yemeni port city of Aden, local officials and medical sources said. According to one official, the gunmen entered the premises in Aden’s Sheikh Othman district after telling the guard they were visiting their mother, before storming into the building and opening fire.
Friday’s casualty figure includes six Catholic nuns from India, four local nurses, four security guards and three cleaning staff, medical sources told Al Jazeera. Screams of elderly residents echoed from the home during the shooting rampage, witnesses told they AFP news agency, adding that they saw bodies of dead workers with their arms tied behind their backs scattered on the floor.
The motive of the gunmen, who fled after the attack, was not immediately known. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Aden was once a cosmopolitan city home to thriving Hindu and Christian communities but its small Christian population left long ago.
Unknown assailants have previously vandalised a Christian cemetery, torched a church and last year blew up an abandoned Catholic church. Yemen descended into a civil war in March when the Houthi fighters forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia after they closed in on Aden, drawing in an Arab coalition assembled by the Saudis into the conflict. The United Nations says nearly 6,000 people have been killed in the fighting, while hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes.