Al Qaeda made significant gains in Yemen since the outbreak of political unrest in the capital. Yemeni security forces have been unable to defeat al Qaeda-linked militants in Abyan in south Yemen, who will continue to pose a threat to the Yemeni state.
Al Qaeda militants escaped from an Aden prison Monday. At least ten militants are believed to have escaped through a tunnel, the second such escape this year. Some of the prisoners were facing charges over involvement in assassinations of intelligence officers. Ansar al Sharia, the al Qaeda-linked militant group that has taken over parts of Abyan, aired a documentary of the June prison break in September.
Yemeni security officials reported that fighting in Abyan killed at least 15 al Qaeda-linked militants and two security personnel Saturday. Al Qaeda-linked militants attacked a base of the 201st armored brigade northeast of Zinjibar. Eleven militants and two soldiers were killed in the ensuing firefight, which began Friday and lasted through Saturday afternoon. Thirty-six soldiers were injured in the fighting. Additional fighting occurred in al Kod, to the southwest of Zinjibar.
Yemen’s new unity government was sworn-in Saturday in Sana’a. The 35-member cabinet will serve for the next two years and has been tasked with overseeing the drafting of a new constitution. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis turned out across the country to demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh face trial.
Sporadic incidents of violence continue in Sana’a. Five explosions were heard in Sana’a early Sunday; two people were reported injured. Opposition members reported that Republican Guard troops fired artillery in northern Sana’a, injuring at least one person Saturday. Friday, a soldier was killed in clashes between loyalist troops and opposition tribesmen near the residence of Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar in al Hasaba district.
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