SANAA, Yemen, June 19 (UPI) -- The assassination of one of Yemen's top military commanders, presumably by al-Qaida in retaliation for a government offensive, suggests the organization is far from crushed despite growing U.S. involvement in the conflict.
And there's another ominous sign: the suicide bomber who killed Maj. Gen. Mohammed Salem Ali Qatan in the southern port city of Aden Monday was reported to be a Somali.
If that is the case, it suggests that the al-Shabaab Islamist group in Somalia may have a tighter relationship with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the jihadist group in Yemen, than was previously thought.
U.S. intelligence has been claiming for some months that there have been moves by the two groups, separated by the Gulf of Aden, to join forces. Their apparent aim is to control southern Yemen to dominate the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the oil artery that links the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.