Are the Houthis and pro-Islamists Hadi forces coordinating with AQAP?


Wed, 07-04-2021 09:37 AM, Aden Time

Shabwa (south24)

Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the missile attack, which targeted the headquarters of the Emirati forces in Shabwa Governorate, South Yemen, last Sunday.

"A headquarters of the Emirati forces was targeted by two missiles at the Balhaf station in Shabwa, praise be to God," Al-Qaeda said in an infographic advertisement published by the American website specializing in jihadist groups (SITE), on Tuesday.

An informed local source told South 24 last Sunday that the headquarters of the Emirati forces had been attacked by mortar missile that targeted a building inside the Balhaf facility, as well as the airport runway, without causing any human damage.

The area outside the headquarters of the UAE forces in Balhaf is under the control of government forces loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Accusations of the involvement of government forces increased, along with elements of terrorist groups against Emirati and Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces. The local authorities in Shabwa reject these accusations.

The STC warned a lot about the involvement of the Islamic Islah Party (the Muslim Brotherhood) in supporting terrorist groups in South. The party did not deny the accusations, but announced earlier that it had nothing to do with the international organization.

Yemeni political specialist Fernando Carvajal said, commenting on the attack, "in statement, AQAP claims to target Emirati forces while GoY forces are just a few kilometers east of Belhaf."

"AQAP had not officially claimed an attack in Shabwah since september 2018 though several informal claims," said Elizabeth Kendall, from the University of Oxford. "AQAP fragments in south may be regrouping and reasserting AQ identity," she added on Twitter.

American lawyer Irina Tsukerman did not rule out joint coordination between the Islah party, the Houthis and Al Qaeda in the attack on the Emirati forces.

"Recent reports indicate that Houthis and AQAP are working together, so this may have been a coordinated attack," said Tsukerman on Twitter "Houthis and AlIslah have been known to cooperate."

The Houthis and Islah have an interest in the exit of the Emiratis and the STC forces from Balhaf.

On Monday, a Houthi official warned of the consequences of targeting and destroying the Balhaf facility and the port for the export of liquefied gas, according to Al Masirah TV.

At dawn on Tuesday, drones had launched air strikes on possible Al-Qaeda areas, north of Ataq, Shabwa governorate.

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.

Neither the Shabwa official authorities nor the Hadi government issued any comment on these events.

For this reason, the STC representative in Europe, Ahmed bin Farid, believed that "the complete elimination of Al Qaeda and extremist groups in Shabwa and Abyan not only requires drones, but also the elimination of the environment that supports them." In reference to the authorities that are under the control of the Islamists there.

- South24 Center for News and Studies