The bomber detonated an explosives belt as he joined a line of men at a police recruitment centre on the southwestern outskirts of the city that government forces recaptured last month after a year of Al-Qaeda rule, a provincial official said.
Sixty people were also wounded in the attack in Fuwah district, a medical source said.
An IS statement posted online claimed the attack, the second but rare intervention by the jihadist group in an area known as a stronghold of rival Al-Qaeda.
“Brother Abu al-Bara al-Ansari… detonated his explosives belt at a gathering of the apostates of the security forces,” it said.
On Thursday, 15 Yemeni troops were killed in jihadist attacks on army positions outside Mukalla. IS said one of its militants blew up a vehicle packed with explosives in an army base in Khalf district on the city’s eastern outskirts.