The Yemeni military has secured parts of Zinjibar, but reporting remains limited out of the south. The military is seeking to regain control of territory seized by the al Qaeda-linked militant group Ansar al Sharia (Supporters of Islamic Law); however, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula maintains its safe havens in Shabwah and elsewhere in Yemen.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for an August 15 suicide attack in al Jawf and threatened revenge for airstrikes on that day. AQAP reported that its operative, Abu Bakr Muhammad al Najda, entered a gathering of al Houthis in Mata’a (al Matama) in al Jawf and detonated his suicide bomb on August 15. AQAP claimed that the attack killed over one hundred people. A second communiqué discussed the September 5 airstrikes in Jaar in Abyan. AQAP wrote that the Grand Mosque, the Mosque of Sheikh ibn Ba’az, al Razi hospital, and the produce market were targeted by airstrikes, killing at least seven civilians. AQAP denied that any militants were killed and said that the airstrikes “by the American and their agents confirm the enemies’ atrocities.” (Posts obtained and translated by SITE.)
Residents report AQAP leaders’ presence in Shabwah governorate. The unconfirmed report says that deputy leader Said al Shihri, military commander Qasim al Raymi, and operative Fahd al Quso were spotted, along with Saudis and Egyptians, in Shabwah. Local sources reported that many of the militants injured in fighting in Zinjibar and Jaar had entered Shabwah, where towns such as al Hawta and Azzan serve as AQAP strongholds.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh granted the vice president authority to negotiate and sign a transition deal. The presidential decree authorized Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi to begin implementing a transition of power. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have turned out across the country to call for Saleh to transfer power.
Fighting north of Sana’a in Arhab continues between opposition tribesmen and loyalist army units. Yemeni airstrikes hit Salman and al Maruzah villages near the al Furija military camp. At least four tribesmen were killed in fighting.
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.