U.S. airstrikes targeted al Qaeda-linked militants’ positions in Abyan governorate. Yemeni military officials report that 30 militants were killed in the airstrikes and clashes with Yemeni ground forces. Four military officers were killed in the fighting. Overnight fighting near the southern entrance to Zinjibar killed three soldiers, one of whom was an officer, and six militants.
Yemeni defense minister Major General Muhammad Nasser Ahmed’s convoy was struck by a roadside bomb. The convoy was traveling through Dofes in Abyan when the explosion occurred. Two soldiers were killed. A radical Islamist posted a report on the incident on the Shumukh al Islam web forum, threatening to continue to attack the defense minister. (Post obtained and translated by SITE.)
Lahij residents report a growing militant presence. The entry of over 100 al Qaeda-linked militants has sparked fears that the governorate will fall under their control, as did neighboring Abyan. Militants have been seen in the capital of the governorate.
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.
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