By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, May 14, 2012- Al-Qaeda militants in the Arabian Peninsula attacked on Sunday evening the house of American troops, who work at al-Anad air base along with Yemeni troops as trainers, in Yemen's southern sea port of Aden.
Sources said that gunmen believed to be suspected al-Qaeda militants fired machine guns towards the wall of the house causing no causalities.
Two days ago Pentagon said it is sending military trainers back to Yemen for “routine” counterterrorism cooperation with Yemeni security forces amid an intensified battle against an offshoot of the al-Qaeda terror network.
Last March Yemen's Foreign Minister Abu Bakar Al-Qirbi revealed about the existence of US marine forces in Sana'a that are tasked with protecting the US Embassy from any Al-Qaeda's risks.
Media sources said that the Sheraton Hotel has been completely allocated for the US forces since last June, pointing out that these forces are replaced regularly.
In an interview with the weekly Al-Wasat newspaper, Al-Qirbi affirmed that there are forces inside the Sheraton Hotel that overlooks the embassy.
With a presence of Marines in Sana’a, the capital and given Yemenis’ reservations towards more American intervention, President Hadi is looking over the potential repercussions of his decision.
A U.S. military training program in Yemen was suspended last year after former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was badly injured in a militant attack. At one point the U.S. had between 100 and 150 trainers there. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who took over in February, has requested increased U.S. counterterrorist cooperation, including trainers and advisers.
The U.S. also has a substantial naval presence near Yemen. A Marine contingent aboard Navy ships arrived in the area over the weekend on a routine rotation. It includes the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, with about 2,000 Marines aboard vessels including the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima. Also in the group is the amphibious transport dock ship New York, which was built with more than seven tons of steel from the World Trade Center. It is New York’s maiden deployment.
Though the Pentagon introduced the deployment as a “first,” US troops have actually been in Yemen for months now, as the Pentagon reported US troops coming under attack in the city of Aden in early March. There was no attempt at the time to explain what the troops were doing there.