By Fatik Al-Rodaini
SANA'A, March 7, 2012- Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, (AQAP) announced on Wednesday Yemen's southern province of Shabwa an Islamic Emirate, as a second emirate for the group after nearly one year of announcing Abyan province an Islamic Emirate.
The group's Yemen branch posted on several jihadi websites a statement confirming their control over the province with highlighting their activities in the region.
Yemen Interior Ministry warned on its website against a potential terrorist attacks would target vital economic installations in Yemen southern province of Hadhramout.
The Ministry said that at least 300 AQAP elements were deployed in Azzan town, Shabwa province, amongst whom were Ibrahim Al-Banaa, an Egyptian national, Qassem Al-Raimi, the military leader, and Shaker Hamel, who is described as the most dangerous elements of the Al-Qaeda. The AQAP elements are believed to be preparing for a series of attacks on local representatives and security facilities in the province. Moreover, the group is said to be planning a further expansion of its Islamic Emirate by seizing Mukallah, the regional capital of Hadhramout.
Earlier, Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks in Yemen, including an assault on soldiers that left scores dead in the southern province of Abyan and the bombing of a military plane in Sana'a.
In a statement posted on several jihadi websites AQAP claimed Abyan operation against Dofes and Kud bases quoted the statement as saying, on Sunday, 'the mujahedeen carried out a series of operations against government forces deployed at the entrances of Zinjibar,' capital of Abyan province.
The extremists claimed that 'around 100 soldiers and officers were killed while 12 others were wounded and 73 held captive' in these attacks.
On the same day, 'the mujahedeen blew up a Yemeni air force military plane in Dulaimi army base that was transporting weapons to Aden and Hadhramout provinces, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said in a statement.
The statement also demanded Yemeni government to release their prisoners from the national and political security jails in exchange for saving the lives of 73 soldiers they hold captive in Abyan.
The group urged relatives of the captured soldiers to lobby the U.S. ambassador to Yemen and President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Yemen's newly-elected leader, on the soldiers' behalf.
In Wednesday's statement, AQAP claimed responsibility for a string of attacks on security forces across the lawless south and southeast of the restive country.
In related news, AQAP threatened an American school in Yemen saying it has become a target of Yemen Al-Qaeda branch.
According to Bikyamasr.com, the American Language Institute AMIDEAST, located in the southern city of Aden, received an anonymous phone call threatening an attack by the terrorist organization unless it complied with the group’s demands.