Renewed fighting in Sana’a highlights underlying tensions in the capital as the political crisis continues. In south Yemen, the Yemeni army continues to fight al Qaeda-linked militants, who seized control of much of Abyan governorate.
Fighting broke out in Sana’a between Hashid tribesmen and government troops. The clashes occurred in al Hasaba district in north Sana’a between the home of Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar and the Ministry of the Interior. A statement from Ahmar’s office reported that “President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forced fired mortar shells” at his residence.
A U.S. drone strike in al Arqub area, east of Zinjibar, killed five al Qaeda-linked militants. The office of Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour Hadi reported that three foreigners had been killed in fighting, including two Pakistanis and a Chechen. A tribal source reported that pro-government tribesmen supported by the Yemeni army attacked a public building in Zinjibar, killing four al Qaeda-linked militants. One of those killed was a Pakistani doctor.
A post on a radical Islamist web forum reported on Ansar al Sharia in Abyan governorate. The writer noted that Azan, in Abyan governorate, is under the al Qaeda-linked militants’ control. Further, the writer described airstrikes in Jaar and fighting in Dofes. The writer ended by noting that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) military commander Qasim al Raymi is serving as a battlefield commander in Abyan. (Post obtained and translated by SITE.)
The ongoing political crisis in the capital has placed the Yemeni state at risk of a broader armed conflict. Further, the Yemeni state has been undergoing fragmentation. Al Qaeda has seized control of territory in south Yemen and the current situation has increased the organization’s operating space in the country.