Al Qaeda-linked militants have gained ground in Yemen. Militants have begun to consolidate their control in cities in south Yemen and, in some areas, are enforcing a strict interpretation of Islamic law.The Yemeni government claims to have foiled an al Qaeda plot in Aden, arresting six militants reported to be trained in explosives. The security situation, however, remains volatile. A colonel was killed in Aden when a bomb planted in his car exploded. A similar bombing occurred on June 13 in Aden.
The Yemeni military has been unable to regain control of southern cities. Fighting in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate, has been ongoing between government troops and militants, who call themselves “Ansar al Sharia,” or Supporters of Islamic law. Airstrikes targeted militant positions in the city and in nearby Jaar.
The Yemeni Air Force bombed sites in Nihm district, north of the capital. Sporadic clashes have been ongoing in the mountainous Nihm district between anti-government tribesmen and government troops. Residents have reportedly fled to nearby caves for shelter.
Yemeni troops defected to the opposition. The opposition announced the defection of 150 Republican Guard soldiers, 130 Central Security soldiers, and 60 policemen in Tagheer (Change) Square in Sana’a.
The Yemeni state is undergoing fragmentation and a resolution to the political crisis in the capital will not result in a unified state. The current situation has increased al Qaeda's operating space in Yemen.
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