Four nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Blessed Mother Teresa were among 16 people killed by gunmen who stormed an senior care home in the Yemeni port city of Aden on Friday, officials and witnesses said.

Reportedly Four gunmen told a guard they were on a visit to their mother, entered the home with rifles and opened fire. While two gunmen surrounded the home, the others moved from room to room, handcuffing victims and shooting them in the head.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia told the Vatican’s Fides news agency that two of the slain nuns were from Rwanda and one each from India and Kenya. One nun who survived and was rescued by locals said that she hid inside a fridge in a store room.

Yemeni pro-government fighters, inspect an elderly care home in Aden after it was attacked by gunmen on Thursday. (AFP)

The motive of the gunmen was not immediately known. They fled after the attack, an official said. No group claimed the attack. One official told AFP the attackers were “extremists” and blamed the Islamic State, which has been gaining ground in Aden in recent months.

There were around 80 residents in the retirement home run by the Missionaries of Charity. Missionaries of Charity nuns were also attacked in Yemen in 1998, when gunmen killed three nuns in the port city of Hodeida.

Aden’s Christian churches have also come under attack. During the summer, a Catholic church in the district of Crater was torched and sabotaged by Islamic extremists.

From the Vatican via

Four Missionary Sisters of Charity, the community founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, were shot dead by gunmen in a raid on their convent early this morning in the Yemenite city of Aden. The news was confirmed to Fides by sources at the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia. Besides the Sisters, the driver and at least two other Ethiopian community helpers were killed. The Convent Superior and old people or disabled persons living at the community were unharmed. However so far there is no news of Indian Salesian priest Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, who has been staying at the sisters house since the Holy Family church in a Aden was sacked and torched by unidentified gunmen last September.Two of the sisters killed were Rwandan, one was Indian and the fourth was from Kenya. At the moment the convent Superior is giving information to the local police who are keeping the bodies of the poor sisters and the other victims in custody.

So far no one has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, but it is known that in this Yemenite port-city, retaken some months ago by troops faithful to president Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in conflict with Houthi rebels, there are deeply rooted bands in connection with the network of al Qaida.

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