Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2 killed in artillery attack in north Yemen

By AHMED AL-HAJ - Associated Press
March 28, 2012
SANAA, Yemen --
Yemeni security officials and tribesmen say two civilians were killed during army shelling of an area suspected of being a hideout of armed militia north of the capital, Sanaa.
Officials in Yemen's Republican Guards said Tuesday they bombarded the area in the northern Arhab region where they suspected an armed militia was hiding.
Local tribal leader Hadi al-Garmouzi said the surprise attack killed two civilians, injured others and caused damage. The attack came despite an attempt to arrange a cease-fire.
Also Tuesday, Yemen's new president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, fired a longtime supporter of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who headed the powerful Military Economic Institution, which took in significant revenues but its budget was a secret.

Yemeni army killed 4 al-Qaida militants in southern province

March 28, 2012      
ADEN, Yemen (Xinhua) -- Four al-Qaida militants were killed late Tuesday during an intensive army shelling on their hideouts in the southern province of Abyan, an army officer told Xinhua Wednesday.
The army barracks of the 201st Armored Brigade launched a heavy bombardment on two areas in the northern suburbs of Zinjibar city, the provincial capital of Abyan, where dozens of the al-Qaida insurgents were hiding, killing at least four militants, the army officer said on condition of anonymity.
A local leading member of the terrorist group was killed, the officer said, adding that the attack caused huge damages to the al- Qaida fortifications and some arms caches in the region.
Al-Qaida militants who took advantage of the conflicts in the country have seized several towns in Abyan and Shabwa provinces after severe fighting with government troops backed by U.S. drones. The Zinjibar city has been under al-Qaida control for nearly a year.
In January 2009, al-Qaida affiliates in Saudi Arabia and Yemen officially merged and formed Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ( AQAP).
The group, mainly entrenching itself in Yemen's southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, is on the terrorist list of the United States, which considers it as an increasing threat to its national security.
The AQAP underscores the challenges faced by Yemen's new President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who won support from major Yemeni political forces, the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Hadi is tasked with restoring security and stability to Yemen and putting an end to growing influence of al-Qaida that threatens the daily oil shipping routes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

US Warns Its Citizens Against Travel To Yemen

March 28, 2012
(RTTNews) - The U.S. State Department has urged American citizens not to travel to Yemen in the wake of the high security threat level in that country due to terrorist activities and civil unrest.
In a Travel Warning update issued on Tuesday, U.S. citizens currently in Yemen have been advised to depart. Since September last year, the number of U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa has been reduced. The State Department said its ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation.
The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high. While political violence in Sanaa has calmed in recent months, violent clashes are still taking place in various parts of the country and may escalate without notice. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.
Terrorist organizations continue to be active in Yemen, including Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP has reportedly claimed responsibility for killing a U.S. citizen in Taiz on March 18. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. Piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean is also a security threat to maritime activities in the region.
U.S. citizens in Yemen have been reminded that they should ensure that they have proper and current documentation, including a valid U.S. passport, to help them depart the country and make available the U.S. Embassy's assistance.
U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen despite this Travel Warning have been advised to limit non-essential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Yemen through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information.

Yemen urges Pakistan to free bin Laden's widow

Sana'a, Mar 28 (ANI): Yemen has urged Pakistan to free one of Osama bin Laden's injured widows, saying Yemen-born Amal Al-Sadeh and her four children were not guilty of any crime.
Earlier this month, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik had said that bin Laden's three widows, including Sadeh, would be put on trial for entering and living in the country illegally.
However, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said: "The Pakistani authorities retracted from their initial position to surrender Amal to the Yemeni government."
"We continue to call on the Pakistani authorities to transfer her to her home country. We are also concerned about the well being of her young children. The children should not be punished for the mistakes of their father," The Dawn quoted him, as saying.
Al Qaeda leader and the 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was shot dead in May last year by US Special Forces who stormed his Abbottabad house in the Pakistan. adeh, two other wives from Saudi Arabia and an undisclosed number of children were among the 16 people detained by Pakistani authorities after the raid.
Relatives said Sadeh, who was shot in the leg during the raid, entered Pakistan legally.
"She came to Pakistan with her elder brother in 2000 using her passport," Hameed Al-Sadeh, Amal's 27-year-old cousin, said.
"They flew from Sanaa to Karachi. There was nothing illegal about it. The Pakistani authorities have even released a photocopy of her passport," he added. (ANI)

Defense Department: Yemeni branch of al Qaeda a serious threat to US

March 28, 2012
By Larry Shaughnessy CNN Pentagon Producer
WASHINGTON (CNN) -Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula represents a "serious threat" to attack the United States, according to a Defense Department official who oversees special operations.
In testimony before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of Defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict, said the United States has made important gains against the al Qaeda affiliate over the past year, but "the group's intent to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States continue to represent a serious threat."
The threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula remains in spite of the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical cleric who became the public face of the group.
Al-Awlaki had been tied to the attempt to blow up a U.S. commercial airliner as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009 and to the cargo plane bomb plot the next year. He was killed by a CIA drone missile attack in September.
There are still key players at large in Yemen: AQAP leader Naser al-Wuhayshi, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, and Ibrahim al-Asiri, the skilled bomb-maker believed to be behind the aircraft bombing plots; as well as a number of former Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Sheehan also testified about bin Laden's core al Qaeda based in Pakistan. "We have made progress on this front, but al Qaeda is a highly adaptive organization and we must continue to work with Pakistan to address threats emanating from this region."