A charity started by Mother Teresa of Calcutta came under attack by the Islamic State group on Friday. Witnesses said 4 nuns and 12 employees were shot in the head in Yemen after being placed in handcuffs.
Two gunmen surrounded the building in Aden while four others entered the building, officials speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press.
“On entering inside, [the terrorists] immediately shot dead the gatekeeper and started shooting randomly,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesman for India’s external affairs ministry, the Guardian reported.
One nun managed to survive by hiding inside a refrigerator within a store room.
Roughly 80 people live at the retirement home, which is run by Missionaries of Charity. The effort was launched in 1998.
Yemen, once touted as a counterterrorism success by President Obama, spiraled into chaos in January 2015 after Houthi forces seized the presidential palace in the capital city of San’a. The country’s president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, fled soon afterward.
“Allah is Great! Death to America! Death to Israel! Curse on the Jews! Victory to Islam!” the Shiite group often chants.
“If it can’t be reversed, the fall of Yemen takes the Mideast closer to a regional war between radical Sunnis and radical Shiites, with U.S. allies caught in the middle. It’s an illusion to think that if we withdraw the carnage will stay over there,” the Wall Street Journal warned Jan. 20, 2015.
Bodies from Friday’s massacre were eventually retrieved and transferred to a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, Assocoated Press reported.
ISIS and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula currently control large swathes of southern Yemen as an internationally-recognized government attempts to exert its authority. Shiite rebels maintain dominance in the northern half of the region, which has come under constant bombardment by a coalition of Saudi nations.
Roughly 2.4 million people have been displaced and 6,200 civilians killed as a result of Yemen’s civil war, Associated Press reported.