Salafists blow up 16-century mosque in Yemen

People gather among the rubble of a Sufi mosque that was blown up by explosive devices in an attack in the southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen, July 30, 2016. There were no casualties and no groups have claimed responsibility for the attack, according to local media. REUTERS/Anees Mahyoub

Salafists in Yemen have blown up a 16th century mosque housing the shrine of a revered Sufi scholar in the city of Taiz, a local official said Sunday.

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 told AFP, 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 Taiz.

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 Taiz.”

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