Saturday, May 26, 2012

Violence flares up in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen, May 26 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida's offshoot in Yemen, Ansar al Sharia, claimed responsibility for suicide attacks against al-Houthi, a Shiite rebel group in al-Jawf ,officials said.
Ansar al-Sharia targeted a Shiite community in al-Jawf, a northern Yemeni province, when a suicide bomber infiltrated a rally held by al-Houthi and detonated his explosive belt.
Al Masdar online quoted a statement from Ansar al-Sharia as saying Saturday that the bomb had killed 20 Shiites and wounded 10.
Al-Houthi leaders denied the claim in a Saturday press conference, saying the bomb missed its target, injuring and killing none of the attendees.
Mareb Press said Saturday that in another village in al-Jawf province a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a school where many al-Houthi militants had gathered, killing at least 14 including passersby.

Yemen says 27 al-Qaida militants, 7 soldiers killed in clashes in south

By Associated Press
May 26, 2012
SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni military officials say fighting in two southern flashpoint towns has left 27 al-Qaida fighters and seven soldiers dead, and a top commander says the army is pushing the militants out of the area.
The officials say 20 militants and seven soldiers have been killed in fighting near Zinjibar, the capital of southern Abyan province, that continued from Friday until early Saturday. They say seven other militants have been killed in nearby Jaar.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Brig. Gen. Mohammed al-Somali, commander of the 25th Mechanized Brigade, says the army has advanced deep into Zinjibar. The town fell last year to al-Qaida, who took advantage of political turmoil to extend their control over much of the south.

Abducted Saudi diplomat asks king to meet Al Qaeda demands

May 26, 2012
Sana'a: A Saudi diplomat appeared in an online video Saturday for the first time since he was kidnapped in March and asked Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to meet the demands made by the Al Qaeda to secure his release.
Abdullah al-Khaledi, Saudi Arabia's deputy consul in Yemen's southern port city Aden, was abducted by the Al Qaeda in March outside his residential building, Xinhua reported.
In April, the terrorist group demanded the release of militants held in prisons in Saudi capital Riyadh in exchange for releasing al-Khaledi.
The middle-aged diplomat, dressed in traditional Saudi attire in the four-minute video, made an emotional appeal to the Saudi king.
"My life is in your hands. I appeal to you to respond to the demands of Al Qaeda," he said.
"I urge Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the Saudi authorities to save my life and secure my release from the Al Qaeda's hands," he said in a short video posted online.
"You should accept the Al Qaeda's demands of releasing its detainees in Saudi jails," he said.
Al-Khaledi has been moved to an Al Qaeda hideout in the southern province of Abyan or Shabwa, local media reported.
The Saudi government has announced it "will not bow to the terrorists' demands".
The Al Qaeda has also kidnapped a Swiss woman and a French aid worker in the past two months in a bid to force the Yemeni government to release its jailed members from Yemeni prisons.

Yemeni army kills 35 fighters in the south

May 25, 2012
By Agencies
Yemeni forces have killed at least 35 al-Qaeda fighters in the southern part of the country, the defence ministry said.
The ministry said the Yemeni military took control of Wadi Banaa Arab, near the town of Jaar, after it launched a wide-scale on an al-Qaeda stronghold in the area.
Thursday's attack came after al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on Monday at a military parade rehearsal in the capital, Sana'a, and killed 100 Yemeni soldiers.
According to Yemeni state media, funerals were held on Thursday for 67 of the slain soldiers.
Militants affiliated with al-Qaeda have strengthened their foothold in Yemen, taking advantage of a year of political turmoil and a weak central government in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.
Yemeni troops are fighting opposition fighers in southern cities, as the government presses ahead with a US-backed offensive to help stabilise the impoverished Arab state.
Yemeni warplanes also launched strikes on Jaar, but no casualties have been reported, residents said.
Western and Gulf Arab countries have watched with mounting alarm as a political crisis in Yemen has given al-Qaeda the opportunity to develop a base from which to launch attacks around the world.
Fighters in the south exploited mass protests last year against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize large swathes of territory.
In the strategically important city of Zinjibar, Islamist fighters on Thursday launched a counter-attack against government forces from the eastern parts of the city but were pushed back, a local army official said. One soldier was wounded in the fighting.
The Yemeni army recaptured parts of the southern city of Zinjibar on Wednesday.
The advance of troops into the centre and northern neighbourhoods of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, represents a new front in the government's offensive to reclaim areas seized by insurgents in the south.
Washington has stepped up drone attacks in Yemen since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February, and the Pentagon said it had recently resumed sending military trainers to the Arab state.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have come to regard Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known as AQAP, as the network's most dangerous wing.
Early in May, Washington said Western and Arab intelligence agencies had foiled a plot to arm a suicide bomber with an improved version of an underwear bomb that failed to explode on a 2009 US-bound flight.