Sunday, April 1, 2012

Huge explosion hit First Armored Division headquarters

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A- April 1, 2012- A huge explosion was heard in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a on Sunday evening near Change Square where thousands of protesters have been demonstrating for more than a year.
Witnesses said that black smoke was seen coming from the First Armored Division headquarters that belonging to defected General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar.
No more details were reported.

Al Qaeda is exploiting Yemen military split-minister

* Militant raid is the second on military outposts in two days
* Officials blame al Qaeda for the attacks
By Mohammed Mukhashaf and Mohammed Ghobari
ADEN/SANAA, April 1 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda is successfully exploiting splits within Yemen's armed forces, Defence Minister Mohammad Naser Ahmed warned on Sunday as suspected Islamist militants killed seven soldiers in the second such attack in two days.
The Yemeni military split last year during protests against the 33-year rule of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, with some forces remaining loyal and others joining the opposition.
Briefing parliament on raids that have killed nearly 200 soldiers since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February, Ahmed said that jostling for power and logistical difficulties were helping the militants.
"The army is divided," he said. "Two legitimacies are in a struggle and we are caught between them. Each side is trying to prevail against the other and al Qaeda is exploiting all of this."
Officials have blamed the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militant group that controls large swathes of territory in southern Yemen, for the recent attacks.
On Sunday the Defence Ministry's September 26 news portal said that "seven soldiers were martyred in a treacherous terrorist attack on their outpost" near the city of Shibam, in the southern Hadramout province.
Ahmed said that roads were cut and Yemen's sole military transport plane had been sabotaged on an air base recently, making it difficult to send arms to soldiers fighting al Qaeda.
But he said his ministry had devised a plan to overcome the army's divisions, which he said he hoped to implement within two weeks. He gave no details of the plan but said he would tender his resignation if it was not implemented.
The United States and oil giant Saudi Arabia engineered the transfer of power from Saleh to Hadi, whose main task is to restore stability so that the militants have fewer opportunities to exploit the central government's weakness.
As in previous attacks, the militants struck before dawn on Sunday under the cover of darkness.
Almotamar, an online website run by Saleh's General People's Congress party, quoted security sources as saying that the militants arrived at the Jojeh checkpoint in one vehicle and quickly killed the seven soldiers.
"The attack bears the fingerprints of al Qaeda," it quoted a security source as saying, without giving further details.
The attack appeared to mirror Saturday's, in which militants raided a military checkpoint in the southern Abyan province, killing at least 20 soldiers, according to a senior military official.
Yemen's interior ministry put the death toll at 13 soldiers, while Ansar al-Sharia, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said about 30 soldiers had died and that it had seized military hardware.
A local official in Abyan said on Sunday that a Yemeni warplane had destroyed a tank captured by the militants on Saturday and killed an unknown number of gunmen.
The Yemeni army has also surrounded the area around the checkpoint, the official added. Dozens of people have fled nearby villages, fearing artillery or other exchanges of fire in any further fighting.
Ansar al-Sharia has stepped up its attacks since Hadi's inauguration, when he vowed to fight the militants. Hours after he was sworn in, a suicide attack at a military base killed 26 people.
In their deadliest attack yet, militants killed at least 110 soldiers and took dozens hostage on March 4 in the Abyan provincial capital, Zinjibar.
The government has responded with air strikes on suspected Islamist hideouts, and the United States has repeatedly used its drones to attack militants, who have seized several southern towns over the past year.

Potential attacks by AQAP in Sana'a

By Fatik al-Rodaini
April 1, 2012
SANA'A: Informed security and military officials in the Yemen's capital Sana'a revealed on Sunday they believe al-Qaeda had sneaked armed militants into the heart of the capital as it was planning to attack security leaders and facilities in Sana'a.
The sources told that the Islamists are believed to be preparing for a series of attacks on local representatives and security facilities in the province as a response to attacks led by armed forces against their Yemeni and American air forces killing and wounding scores of them.
 Yemen Interior Ministry warned on its website against a potential terrorist attacks would target vital economic installations in Yemen's capital, Sana'a.
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 this day, at least seven Yemeni soldiers were killed, and others wounded , some of them in critical condition in an attack believed to be conducted by Ansar Al-Sharea, a militant group with link to Al-Qaeda in Yemen's southern province of Hadhramout, a day after clashes with extremist fighters in which at least 30 troops were killed.
Yemen's Defense Military blamed on al-Qaeda militants.
The attack was the latest in a series that officials have blamed on an al-Qaeda-linked extremist group that controls swathes of territory in southern Yemen.
The group, Ansar al-Sharia, said it had killed about 30 Yemeni troops in an assault on a military checkpoint in the southern province of Abyan, one of several where it controls territory.
The details of its claim could not be verified.
The group has escalated its attacks on the military since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February vowing to fight militants.
 A suicide attack at a military base killed 26 people hours after he was sworn in.
The Yemeni military launched several airstrikes in southern Yemen following the killing of some 110 soldiers in Abyan in early March, while US government officials have confirmed that US drones targeted suspected al-Qaeda fighters in recent days.

On the front lines of Al Qaede in Yemen

An adventure journalist, hours after the air strike targeted a drone elements of al-Qaeda in the city of Azzan southern Yemen.
April 1, 2012
There was an air raid of the U.S. unmanned aircraft targeted a car carrying 3 people from al-Qaeda in the city of Shibuya Azzan in South Yemen, hours after I was there in the heart of the event.
We arrived at noon to the city of Azzan that Al Qaeda control of it since 3 months and converted to the Islamic state under the rule of al-Qaeda, when you enter the city we have seen cars carrying armed groups of al-Qaeda as they roam the streets of the city, the spectrum for the purpose of securing the city, according to the citizen Nasser Almkhor of the sons of the city, He told us that the city's population exodus Daw trip in anticipation of the outbreak of the war on al Qaeda here, especially after the aggravation of air strikes and raids targeting al-Qaeda center of vital places in the city, sent fear and anxiety in the hearts of the citizens. He told us one of the citizens advise you that I imagine it is a piece a danger you said another citizen if you want photography might shoot you by the crumbs have pointed his finger towards a security patrol with an armed group of al-Qaeda, we stayed in the city for 3 hours under the heat of the sun and we are looking for a safe place to start our press releases, at half past three pm there was a car four-wheel drive in the form of an ambulance taking place in the streets and called out over loudspeakers to announce the time for Asr prayer continue to appeal through the loudspeaker of citizens for them to go to the mosque to perform the Asr prayer after the Asr prayer we decided to go to the adventure We went to the media center to al-Qaeda, made of wood and sheet tin, there've met a young and handsome appearance told him that we are on a mission press the Btgeradna of all our papers supporting and Card Application employer journalist told him that it is not available to us after a request to wait a bit and returned to us after a quarter hours to Astahibna to an unknown destination we walked on foot in the road told us that he called Eboumhmed have tried to assure us that things will be okay probably tried to absorb the fear, then we got to near the military barracks said now you can imaging when necessary imaging TVA come have appeared to us a group masked men carrying light and medium weapons shouted one of them wait to imagine they were drinking tea and then they asked me to come and access to military barracks to drink tea with them, I felt a bit concerned I tried Astltafhm I said thank you for no need I'm in a hurry I have important work should be completed quickly, but they insisted all of them to me in the barracks, which They were holed up in which I told them I am afraid that cost me a cup of tea my life may come a plane without a pilot to aim the barracks and lose my life with you I am a journalist not to blame me, then blew up laughing to hear my talk, I went in and sat on the ground gave me one cup of tea milk they are young to Atifon in the form of ghosts aged between 18-25 years, conducted a short interview with their leader, who was sitting next to me left I asked him about the nature of their relationship with people and why there was a merger of the community with them? He said that there is an understanding between them and the people here, especially in light of the work of al-Qaeda to provide services to the people said we are applying the law of God has told us an example where he said yesterday, we apply the al-Shara on a person drunk where we have his life for forty lashes according to the provisions of Islamic law, he said.
We came out of the military barracks at another place I have Aqtadenei (Eboumhmed) to the car Suzuki small size was inside two of the young al-Qaeda asked me Eboumhmed climb into the car I felt scared Ajtahani maybe I imagined it would be a journey of death, accompanied by (the ghosts of the rule) but I rejected the piece I they must forgive me I prefer to walk on foot, because I got to the car could put my life in danger, we have resumed the man, Abu Mohammed walk after we left the car we walked for a distance of 5 km Aqtadenei Eboumhmed to the streets in the background during the walked in the way you held a conversation with him I asked him about the position of al-Qaeda of revolutions Arab spring, especially against the regime in Yemen said this Alandma agent of America has misrepresented the Arab peoples of the Islamic religion of these systems have been applied all Maatmlah the U.S. policy we want to implement Islamic law, and in answering a question about how to read al-Qaeda elements of U.S. policy toward al-Qaeda? He said America has always relied in dealing with al Qaeda on the policy of separating the base for Islamic societies American policy is always classified as al-Qaeda as an entity eccentric and not related to the lives of Arab society and Islamic world, we completed the dialog when we got to the place told us that Abu Mohammed that site air strike targeted three of al-Qaeda yesterday evening (Friday), including an explosives expert Syrian, and two Yemenis, one of them named Abu Hamza also told us is no longer the car found in the place They have withdrawn to a secret location not see is parts of the car's tires, ash and coal black fragments volatile on the wall of the house opposite to place the air strike, the sun on Saturday is about to sunset I said to leave me long distance and flight search tired for a car take me to return to the points of which I came of them, dark and still their cars with black roaming the streets for a moment the ears of Morocco I was in distress Search for a car to travel and leave the city for Manna one patrol base was on board, about a dozen young, masked and armed men came to me shouted one of them to me, saying it was time for Maghrib prayer you have to go unless we will Bokhzk to the prison complied with it after the prayer crept in the darkness and found the taxi left the city Azzan and the ghosts of Al Qaeda is still moving amid the darkness of the city center can see you this darkness to blazing light of the future? Question I've been throughout my way back from a trip with the ghosts of death that I felt it in all my movements Ajtahani with al-Qaeda, I returned from my trip if I created from a new and perhaps wrote me a new life.
Source: Demotix

Yemen’s capital on highest alert, as clashes expected

Chiara Onassis | 1 April 2012
SANA’A: As war planes loudly flew over the Yemeni capital this Sunday morning, reminders that fighting in Arhab and its vicinity were still raging, residents in the northern districts of the capital told that soldiers loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and Sheikh Sadeeq al-Ahmar’s tribesmen had come back to their neighborhoods in their thousands, once again positioning themselves upon rooftops and entering schools and other buildings, clearly marking their territories.
A Lieutenant of al-Firkah, Mohsen’s division revealed under cover of anonymity that the General was gearing up for another round of attacks as the fight for power was moving to the capital.
“President Saleh’s loyalists have been battling out al-Islah in some sort of a covert war ever since the signature of the power-transfer, either on the political arena either throughout the use of armed militias and ‘groups’, sabotaging the state infrastructures to better accuse their opponents of wrong-doings,” he began.
“Both sides have actually been using the same propaganda methods … Over the past 48 hours things have degenerated, with the air force pounding Arhab tribes. Those men are supporters of Sheikh Sadeeq al-Ahmar and the Sheikh is not willing to let his men get slaughtered without retaliating.
Things are getting serious now and reinforcement is being sent as we speak to Arhab as the tribes want to take down al-Sama’a Republican Guards base. If this base falls the Revolution would have won,” he added.
While the Republican Guards are justifying their attacks on Arhab by claiming that al-Qaeda militants are currently running operations against the state, local tribes are accusing Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, Saleh’s eldest son and Head of the Republican Guards of using al-Qaeda’s card to cover his personal vendetta against those opposing his rule and that of his father.
Ever since the beginning of last year’s uprising, Arhab tribes rose against the regome pledging to support revolutionaries. The move was costly as they became the air force’s target of choice, ensuing air raids and shelling campaign.
And indeed sandbags and barricades have been raised again near “Change Square”, the main rallying point of the Revolution and in and around Hasaba, a district under the direct control of al-Ahmar’s clan.
Ahmed al-Sofi a security analyst already warned last week against the dangers of such a political stand-off in Yemen, saying that if the remnants of the regime continued to hang on to whatever power they had left refusing to compromise with the opposition, Yemen could yet revert to a state of war.
 “Al-Ahmar and Saleh are refusing to let go and since they both have a veritable war arsenal at their disposal they could spark off a bloody civil war. I don’t think the international community is quite grasping the severity of the situation. None of the factions are willing to negotiate for it would mean letting go of decades of ultimate power. For Saleh it is his entire legacy he would have to let go off and for al-Ahmar, his undisputed title of Sheikh of Sheikhs,” said the soldier.