Yemen Crisis Situation Reports: Update 128
Al Qaeda has made significant gains in Yemen over the course of the past year’s unrest. The targeting of al Qaeda operatives in Yemen has not reversed the territorial control of local, al Qaeda-linked groups such as Ansar al Sharia. Ansar al Sharia’s presence in south Yemen has expanded al Qaeda’s operating space in the country.
Suspected U.S. airstrikes in south Yemen targeted al Qaeda-linked militant positions in Abyan governorate. Local reports indicate that up to 15 militants were killed and have confirmed the death of at least four al Qaeda-linked militants. An al Qaeda spokesman confirmed the strikes, but said only three had been killed and two others injured. Three airstrikes reportedly targeted a local al Qaeda meeting in a school near Lawder in northern Abyan. A fourth struck an al Qaeda control post. Other reports indicate that airstrikes hit two vehicles traveling in a convoy just east of Lawder. Initial reports say that Abdul Munim al Fathani, who is reportedly connected to the USS Cole attack, was killed in the strike. Xinhua reported that al Khadri Em-Soudah and Ahmed Mu’eran Abu Ali, an al Qaeda leader in Shabwah, were also killed.
Yemen’s Interior Minister escaped an assassination attempt in Sana’a. Ahmed Ali al Amrani, the interior minister and a member of Yemen’s ruling General People’s Congress party, was unharmed. Three shots were fired at his car as he left a cabinet meeting Tuesday morning. Late Friday, gunmen likely linked to al Qaeda assassinated Mubarak Barafaa, the head of a criminal investigation unit, in Hadramawt governorate.
Yemeni troops and al Qaeda-linked militants clashed outside of Rada’a Tuesday. Reports indicate that Tareq al Dhahab, the leader of the group of militants who took over Rada’a, was targeted but escaped uninjured. Three militants and five Yemeni soldiers were killed and five soldiers were injured in the fighting. In Zinjibar, clashes killed four al Qaeda-linked militants and a Yemeni soldier Saturday.
Fighting continues in north Yemen between Shiite al Houthis and Sunni tribesmen and Salafists. Local sources reported that al Houthi rebels attacked positions in Aham, Dwar, and al Monla areas in Hajjah governorate. The tribesmen claim to have killed at least 13 al Houthi rebels.
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