The governor of Yemen’s southern port city of Aden was killed in a car bomb attack on Sunday.
ISIL says it was responsible.
Targeted as he headed to work, General Jaafar Mohammed Saad died with at least six members of his entourage.
After early reports that the blast was caused by a rocket propelled grenade, ISIL announced in a statement posted on a messaging service it uses that it had detonated a vehicle laden with explosives aimed at Saad’s convoy.
It promised more operations against “the heads of apostasy in Yemen”.
The group’s local branch has stepped up operations since civil war broke out in Yemen, emerging as a rival to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the main militant group in the country in recent years.
Sunday’s attack came one day after assailants killed a senior army officer and a judge who had presided over the trial of militants suspected in the bombing of the US warship USS Cole in Aden in 2000, in two separate attacks in the city.
The governor was an ally of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who returned to Aden last month to oversee the conflict against pro-Iranian Houthi rebels.
They control the capital Sanaa and are fighting a coalition of mainly Gulf Arab forces, which began air strikes against them in March.
In a separate incident, residents said a field commander of a local militia group that had helped drive the Houthis out of Aden in July was shot and killed by unknown assailants in the west of the city on Sunday.