Wednesday, August 24, 2011

AQAP's Ansar al Sharia releases video of suicide attack

By Bill RoggioAugust 24, 2011

Ansar al Sharia, the political front group for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, has released a videotape of a suicide attack in Aden that killed five Yemeni soldiers.

The brief videotape, which is just over a minute long, was released on the al Qaeda-linked Shumukh al Islam forum on Aug. 20 by Ansar al Sharia and has since been published on YouTube by the SITE Intelligence Group. According to a brief statement accompanying the video, the suicide bomber struck a military convoy in Aden as it was traveling to the neighboring province of Abyan.

Although the video is undated, it appears to show the July 25 suicide attack that targeted a military convoy in Aden as it was traveling to Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, which is one of three major cities under AQAP control. In that attack, a car rammed into convoy, killing five soldiers and wounding 25 more, according to the Yemen Post.

There has been one other suicide attack in Aden since May 2011, when Ansar al Sharia was formed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to act as a political front for the terror group and other allied jihadist organizations. The other suicide attack took place on June 24, when a bomber killed three soldiers as they patrolled in the city.

The video, which is in 3GP format, seems to have been taken on a cell phone by a person in a car near the attack. Yemeni soldiers are seen sitting atop tanks and armored vehicles, which appear to be resting on flatbed transportation trucks.

A car is then seen moving quickly toward the Yemeni soldiers, and then it disappears in a fireball that also engulfs several of the transport trucks and armored vehicles.

The attack was carried out by Turki Saad Muhammad Qulais al Shahrani, "an explosive expert for al Qaeda" who was from Saudi Arabia, according to a report in the Yemen Post.

Airstrikes kill 36 suspected militants in Yemen

By AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press

August 24, 2011

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Airstrikes killed 36 suspected al-Qaida militants in southern Yemen on Wednesday, military and medical officials said, as the government pressed on with a campaign to drive out fighters who have overrun several towns.

Islamic militants — some suspected of links to Yemen's al-Qaida branch — seized the towns starting in late May, taking advantage of the political turmoil unleashed by protests against Yemen's longtime ruler. Nearly three months of attacks by warplanes and ground forces have failed to dislodge them.

The U.S. fears that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula will gain a freer hand in Yemen to train and plot attacks against the West as Yemen's embattled government focuses on putting down the protest movement that began calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster in February. Saleh had been cooperating with the U.S. in battling the al-Qaida offshoot.

A first round of airstrikes early Wednesday killed 30 militants near Zinjibar, one of the towns outside the government's control, the officials said. Another airstrike later killed six militants in the nearby Arkoub area, where a pair of suicide bombings had killed 11 anti-al-Qaida tribesmen on Sunday.

Eight Yemeni soldiers were also killed in ground fighting near Zinjibar, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Meanwhile, a funeral procession was held for a senior lawmaker who died Monday in a Saudi hospital from wounds he suffered in a June 3 attack on Yemen's presidential palace compound. The attack killed 11 of the president's bodyguards and seriously wounded President Saleh and four other senior officials.

Saleh is still recovering in Saudi Arabia, where he was treated for serious burns and other injuries.

About 3,000 mourners attended Wednesday's funeral for Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Ghani, speaker of the Shura Council, parliament's upper house.

Yemeni protesters, enraged by grinding poverty and government corruption, took to the streets in February as unrest swept the Arab world and demanded that Saleh step down after 33 years of ruling over the impoverished and unstable corner of the Arabian Peninsula.

A government crackdown has killed at least 174 people, according to Human Rights Watch.