Monday, April 16, 2012

US Predators strike again in southern Yemen

By Bill Roggio
April 16, 2012
US drones killed five al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters in a strike today in an area that is currently under the terror group's control.
The unmanned and heavily armed Predators or the more deadly Reapers targeted an AQAP vehicle as it was traveling near the town of Karma in the Azzan district in Shabwa province, according to The Yemen Post. Five AQAP fighters, but no senior leaders, are said to have been killed in the strike.
Azzan is one of several cities under AQAP control. The city was one of the first to fall to AQAP in early June 2011 after the terror group seized control of Zinjibar in neighboring Abyan province in late May 2011.
The family of slain AQAP ideologue and operational commander Anwar al Awlaki is from Azzan. Anwar's son, Abdul Rahman al Awlaki, was killed in October 2011 in Azzan. One month earlier, Anwar al Awlaki had been killed in a drone strike in Al Jawf province.
The US has carried out four drone strikes in Azzan. The two other strikes took place on March 30 this year, when drones targeted a vehicle and a compound in separate attacks that killed nine AQAP fighters and one civilian.
US strikes in Yemen
The US has carried out at least four airstrikes in Yemen this month; the last strike took place on April 14 in Baydah province. The US launched at least six strikes against AQAP in Yemen in March.
The CIA and the US military's Joint Special Operations Command are known to have carried out at least 27 air and missile strikes inside Yemen since December 2009, including today's strike in Azzan. Other recent airstrikes are believed to have been carried out by the US also, but little evidence has emerged to directly link the attacks to the US. [For more information on the US airstrikes in Yemen, see LWJ report, Charting the data for US air strikes in Yemen, 2002 - 2012.]
Charting the data for US air strikes in Yemen, 2002 - 2012
Created by Bill Roggio and Bob Barry
Since 2002, the US has been conducting a covert program to target and kill al Qaeda commanders based in Yemen. Reports show that strikes have numbered 28 since 2002, with enemy deaths numbering 198 and civilian deaths numbering 48.
This page was last updated on Monday, April 16, 2012, 6:54 pm  GMT. This will be updated when information about prior or new strikes comes to light
Since the beginning of May 2011, the US is known to have carried out 21 airstrikes in Yemen. Eleven of those strikes have taken place so far in 2012. This year, the US appears to be targeting AQAP foot soldiers in an effort to support Yemeni military operations against the terror group. AQAP has taken control of vast areas in southern Yemen and has been expanding operations against the government with raids on military bases in locations previously thought to be outside the terror group's control.
Only one of this year's 10 strikes has killed a senior AQAP operative in Yemen. On Jan. 31, US drones killed Abdul Mun'im Salim al Fatahani near the city of Lawdar in Abyan province. Fatahani was involved in the October 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden that killed 17 US sailors, as well as the bombing that damaged the Limburg oil tanker in 2002. AQAP said that Fatahani had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The pace of the US airstrikes has increased as AQAP and its political front, Ansar al Sharia, have taken control of vast areas of southern Yemen. AQAP controls the cities of Zinjibar, Al Koud, Ja'ar, and Shaqra in Abyan province. The terror group also controls Azzan in Shabwa province. AQAP seized control of Rada'a in Baydah province in January but later withdrew after negotiating a peace agreement with the local government.
US intelligence officials believe that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula poses a direct threat to the homeland. The terror group has plotted multiple attacks against targets in the US. A strike in Yemen last year killed Anwar al Awlaki, the radical, US-born cleric who plotted attacks against the US, and Samir Khan, another American who served as a senior AQAP propagandist. Abdul Rahman al Awlaki, Anwar's son, was killed in a separate strike in the country.

Parliament approves 2012 general budget

SANA'A, April 16 (Saba) - The parliament approved on Monday the State's general budget for the fiscal year 2012.
In its session chaired by parliament speaker Yhaya al-Rae'i and in the presence of the prime minister and government's members, the parliament voted in favor of the 2012 general budget of over YR 2.1 trillion.
The parliament made various recommendations, which the government has committed to implement.
The government finalized budget's draft and submitted to the parliament on March 06.
The approved general budget estimated at YR 2,111,129,453,000, with a deficit expected to reach over YR 0.5 trillion (nearly YR 561,611,320,000).
Yemen's general budget for 2011 was amounting to over YR 1.5 trillion with a deficit estimated at YR 316.4 billion.
Moreover, the parliament agreed to form a joint committee form the parliament and the government to study the diesel price.
The government announced on April 04 new prices for oil derivatives in the Yemeni local market, increasing the diesel and kerosene's prices up to YR 100 per liter, while the gasoline liter price was cut to YR 175.

35 Al-Qaeda militants killed in Yemen

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, April 16, 2012- At least 35 people were killed, including militants and causalities, while several scores were wounded on Sunday evening in Yemeni and American air strikes in the Yemeni city of Abyan where fierce clashes took place against a Yemeni Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda.
Close sources said that the air strikes targeted hideouts of al-Qaeda militants in southern district of Umm Ain killing at least five al-Qaeda militants.
Meanwhile Yemen elite forces which were deployed lately to Abyan as military reinforcements to fight alongside Yemeni troops backed by tribesmen against al-Qaeda militants mistakenly fired towards civilian houses while they were trying to fire on an army tank that had been captured by the militants on Monday. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage there.
According to witnesses, 28 people were killed during an air strike conducted by a US drone strike along with heavy artillery targeted al-Qaeda militant hideouts in Sahan district of Abyan province, bringing the six-day death toll in the fighting to 257, most of them from the militants.
Moreover, sources mentioned that at least one army soldier and seven al-Qaida militants were killed in overnight clashes between government forces and the ansar al-Shareah militants in Yemen's province of Abyan.
Yemeni military officials say al-Qaida fighters trying to take control of a key southern town launched two attacks on residents, leaving a total of seven people dead.
Officials said that clashes in the city of Lawder killed two al-Qaeda militants and an armed civilian fighting back.
Also on Sunday, a suicide bomber drove his car through a civilian checkpoint west of Lawder, killing three people manning it.
The militants want control of Lawder, a town of about 30,000 people, which lies on a key road linking three provinces. Clashes over the past week have left more than 222 militants and 20 civilians dead.
Many of the civilians in Lawder took up arms to protect their town against al-Qaida.