Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Saudi Arabia Urges Citizens to Avoid Travel to Yemen

May 29, 2012
Saudi Arabia urged its citizens to avoid travel to Yemen due to insecurity and instability, the Saudi official news agency reported on Tuesday.
"Saudi citizens are urged to stop travel to the republic of Yemen at the moment and should wait until the situation gets better there," the agency reported, quoting a statement by an official at the Saudi Foreign Ministry.
The warning comes as the deputy Saudi consul, Al-Khalidi, is still abducted by Al-Qaida. Al-Khalidi was kidnapped in Aden and taken to Shabwa in March. Recently, the Sharia Supporters, the offshoot of AQAP, posted a videotape in which the diplomat asked the Saudi king for help. The Saudi kingdom has shut down its embassy in the capital Sanaa in protest against the continuous kidnapping of its diplomat.
Saudi Arabia announced this month $3.25 billion in aid to help Yemen overcome security, economic and political challenges. Last year, the GCC countries sponsored a West-backed power-transfer deal, which saw president Saleh relinquish power after 33 years in office.
The Yemeni army has stepped up the offensive against Al-Qaida militants in southern and southeastern regions, mainly Abyan, to clear militants from the areas seized last year.
Some areas have been recaptured and the forces are now on the edges of the capital Zinjibar and Jaar, the most important strongholds of the militants.
Hundreds of militants have been killed including senior leaders in the past two months.
The US and tribal fighters are directly supporting the national forces to fight Al-Qaida.

Nine killed in Yemen air raids

By Pol O. Gradaigh, dpa
May 29, 2012
CAIRO — Nine people, including seven suspected members of al-Qaida, were killed Monday in two separate air raids in central and eastern Yemen, according to local media reports.
Six suspected members of the militant group were killed in an air raid on the outskirts of Mokalla, the capital of eastern Hadhramaut province, independent news site al-Masdar Online reported quoting local sources.
In another air raid in central Bayda province, three men were killed when a drone fired at a car thought to have been carrying Qaid al-Dhahab, a suspected al-Qaida leader in the province, the website reported.
The three killed included one member of al-Qaida, according to al-Masdar Online, but the leader escaped.
Bayda borders southern Abyan province, where Yemeni government forces backed by U.S. drone strikes have been stepping up their fight against militants in recent weeks.
The militants have taken advantage of a year of political turmoil and a weak central government to seize control of some southern areas of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.