Air strikes targeting Al-Qaeda in South Yemen

Reports

Tue, 06-04-2021 10:54:48 Morning, Aden Time

Shabwa (south24)

Local activists and media said that drones launched airstrikes, at dawn on Tuesday, on potential AQAP areas, in the city of Ataq, in Shabwa governorate, South Yemen.

The AIC TV of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), stated that “air strikes targeted al-Qaeda operatives north of Ataq in Shabwa governorate, near the (Murra) camp of the Muslim Brotherhood militia.

The drones flew heavily "In the sky of a number of directorates in Shabwa governorate, after monitoring the activities of Al-Qaeda militants in them," the channel said.

Later, local citizens told "south24" that drones continued to fly over the city of Ataq, and the main roads leading to the governorates of Ma'rib and Al-Bayda, until three o'clock in the morning on Tuesday.

Al-Qaeda resumed its activities in the governorates of Shabwa and Abyan, following the expulsion of the Shabwani Elite Forces of the STC in August 2019, which had achieved great successes in the field of combating terrorism. Since then, government forces and Islamist militants of the Muslim Brotherhood have controlled large areas in Shabwa and the eastern parts of Abyan Governorate. 

International support

Coinciding with the event, the Deputy Head of the STC's Foreign Affairs Department, Mohammad Al-Ghaithi, said that the adventure of establishing terrorist and extremist groups (ISIS and Al-Qaeda) in Wadi-Hadramawt and Shabwa governorate will not be a solution to escape from implementing the military part of the Riyadh agreement.

"It will not be allowed to repeat the Mukalla 2015 experience. The war of the southern armed forces against terrorism and extremism continues with regional and international support," the official in the STC added, on Twitter.

On Sunday, a local source told "south24" that a mortar missile attack targeted the headquarter of the UAE forces in the Balhaf gas facility in Shabwa governorate without causing damage. 

Late on Tuesday, AQAP claimed responsibility for the attack, and said, in an announcement, that it had attacked the headquarters of the Emirati forces in Balhaf with two missiles.

Press reports had talked about the spread of terrorists from Al Qaeda in the vast coastal areas of Abyan governorate, led by a prominent militant known as Salem Al-Sheinah, in coordination with the Islah Party (the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Yemen).

A report published by the American "South Front" website stated that terrorist mercenaries are being transported by sea from Syria to participate in the fighting alongside Al Qaeda and the Islah Party in Abyan and Ma'rib in Yemen. South24 could not confirm this information from other sources.

Dead in Abyan

On Monday, local sources told "south 24" that a military force loyal to President Hadi, consisting of 40 military vehicles and dozens of armed men, attacked security points of the Security Belt Forces in the area (Khubar) near the coastal city of Ahwar in Abyan Governorate.

The tribes and Security Belt forces responded to the armed attack. It was killed a senior official in the forces loyal to President Hadi (Salah Al-Aouban) and six others were wounded. 

Pro-government activists said later that Hadi's forces loyal to the Islamists were able to deploy in some security points in the coastal region, but security sources said that mediation took place between the two parties to remove Hadi's forces from the points they controlled, according to the local newspaper Al-Marsad.

This is the first military confrontation between the two sides since the announcement of the ceasefire agreement and the formation of the new government on December 11, 2020. 

Parties in the government of Yemeni President Hadi have long been accused of exploiting extremist fighters and members of terrorist groups in their battles against southern forces.

Hadi's forces say they are seeking to re-impose state control in the areas where they were defeated in the past two years.


In mid-March, al-Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for two separate attacks on two security points of the pro-STC Security Belt forces, in Ahwar and al-Wadhia in Abyan governorate. The two attacks killed 13 people, including 9 soldiers, and wounded others, including children.

- South24 Center for News and Studies

Al Qaeda South Yemen STC AQAP Muslim Brotherhood Yemen