Al Qaeda in Yemen has made significant gains over the course of the past ten months. Ansar al Sharia, which has established territorial control over parts of south Yemen, has continued to hold territory in Abyan and has developed a stronger presence in Shabwah despite a Yemeni military operation in the south.
Fighting outside of Zinjibar between al Qaeda-linked militants and Yemeni military forces continued. At least four Yemeni soldiers and two al Qaeda-linked militants were killed Sunday. A local army officer reported that the militants responded to an attack by the 201st armored brigade with mortar shells. Fighting Saturday destroyed at least four armored vehicles and at least two soldiers were killed. At least seven militants were killed, some of them by government shelling.
The process of removing military units from Yemeni cities began Saturday. Armored bulldozers, under the direction of Yemen’s military committee, cleared opposing military forces from the two main streets in Sana’a; opposition tribesmen, defected soldiers, and loyalist soldiers remained stationed in adjacent side streets, however. Defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar announced his support for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) deal Sunday after meeting with EU, UN, and GCC ambassadors in Sana’a.
Opposition sources reported that Republican Guard forces shelled areas in Arhab, Nihm, and Bani Harith from positions in al Sum, Bayt Dahrah, and Furayjah Saturday. Three people were injured in the shelling.
Local officials reported that al Houthi rebels shelled sites in Damaj in Sa’ada governorate Sunday. At least five people were killed. An al Houthi statement noted that the group will not be deterred from pursuing its demands.
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