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Yemeni car bomb death toll rises to 35

Yemen's sectarian conflict has worsened since September when the Shi'ite Muslim Houthi militia seized Sanaa.

FILE: Emergency personnel arrive at the site of a suicide car bombing at the defence ministry in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on 5 December, 2013. Picture: AFP

SANAA - A car bomb exploded outside a police college in Yemen's capital Sanaa on Wednesday, killing 35 people and wounding dozens, police said, less than a week after a suicide bombing south of the capital left nearly 30 dead.

Yemen's sectarian conflict has worsened since September when the Shi'ite Muslim Houthi militia seized Sanaa, deepening political divides that spawned a popular uprising in 2011 and led to a change of government and splits in the army.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the Sunni militant group's most active wings, had staged increasing numbers of attacks across Yemen before the Houthi advance and has carried out more bombings and shootings since.

Brigadier Abdulaziz al-Qudsi, deputy general manager of Sanaa police, said that 68 people were also wounded by the explosion which sent a large plume of smoke into the sky above a densely built up and congested part of the city near the central bank and defence ministry.

"The situation is catastrophic. We arrived to find bodies piled on top of each other," a paramedic at the scene told Reuters as ambulances took casualties away.

"We found the top part of one person yelling, while his bottom half was completely severed."

Qudsi said the initial investigation showed that a booby-trapped vehicle with a driver and passenger in the front had been parked near where people who wanted to register were standing beside an outside wall of the police college.

"They then hurried out (of the bus) and escaped and then the bus explosion happened at 7 a.m," Qudsi was cited as saying by state news agency Saba. He said several of those wounded were in critical condition.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday's bombing. Al Qaeda has in the past claimed they were behind similar attacks .