Violence in Sana’a continued into a fifth day. Yemeni security forces fired mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at thousands of protestors in Sana’a. There are also reports of continued sniping. At least six people have been killed near the main protest site, Tagheer (Change) Square. Shelling in al Hasaba district in northern Sana’a killed another three people.
Airstrikes in Abyan governorate killed al Qaeda militants. A local official in al Mahfad, in southern Abyan, reported that two U.S. drone strikes in the area killed four suspected al Qaeda militants. He reported that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s deputy leader, Said al Shihri, escaped. A second official from the coastal town of Shaqra reported that two air raids killed six “al Qaeda gunmen.” Xinhua published a conflicting report. A Yemeni military officer said that the airstrikes were carried out by the Yemeni Air Force and that one of the airstrikes struck a vehicle carrying al Qaeda militants in al Mahfad. The officer reported that Fahd al Quso, an AQAP operative connected to the USS Cole bombing, was killed along with four other militants.
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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