Aden: A suicide bombing Yemeni authorities blamed on al-Qaeda killed 42 people in a southern town recently recaptured by the army from the jihadists, hospital and local government sources said on Sunday.

In the east of the country, meanwhile, a suspected US drone strike late on Saturday killed five al-Qaeda militants, a local official said.

The bomber struck on Saturday in Jaar, one of a string of towns in Abyan province that were retaken by government troops in June after being held by al-Qaeda loyalists for more than a year.

"An al-Qaeda suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt during a mourning ceremony organised by the Popular Resistance Committees," a local militia that fought alongside the army in its month-long counter-offensive, said provincial governor Jamal al-Aqal.

An official at the Razi hospital in Jaar said it had received the bodies of 24 of the dead, while medics said 12 people died of their wounds in three hospitals in the main southern city Aden.

Relatives took the bodies of six of the dead directly from the scene of the attack for burial, local official Mohsen bin Jamila told.

The 37 wounded were being treated in hospitals in Jaar and Aden. "The victims' bodies were flying in all directions because the explosion was so powerful," a witness said.

The deputy head of the municipal authority in Jaar held the government partially responsible for the attack because of its slowness in deploying police to the town after its recapture by the army.

"There is no presence of police in Jaar and other towns of Abyan, while al-Qaeda militants remain underground," said Nasser Abdullah Mansari.

(Agencies)

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