Yemeni military operations, supported by local tribesmen, appear to have cleared pockets of Abyan governorates of al Qaeda-linked militants, including areas that have served as safe havens for al Qaeda.
Tribesmen and government forces report gains against militants in Abyan. Tribesmen report that Lawder has been cleared of militants and that a large arms cache of automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, and mines was uncovered. Parts of Zinjibar have also been cleared of militants. Overnight airstrikes targeted militant positions in al Khamila, south of Zinjibar. An army spokesman reported that al Qaeda-linked militants attacked an army camp outside of Zinjibar Monday and that ten militants, including a senior member, were killed.
The situation remains tense in Sana’a. Yemen’s youth movement alleged that Yemeni security forces were planning to storm Tagheer (Change) Square in Sana’a, where the protestors have set up camps. Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar issued a warning that any attack would escalate the conflict. Yemen’s political opposition has rejected government plans for dialogue, seeking the implementation of a transition deal first.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasser al Wahayshi, also known as Abu Basir, swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al Zawahiri. Wahayshi spoke in an audio message produced by AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Foundation.
A resolution to the political crisis in the capital will not end the fragmentation of the Yemeni state, which remains at risk of a broader armed conflict. The current situation has increased al Qaeda's operating space in Yemen.