Sunday, July 22, 2012

Senior Yemen army officer survives roadside bomb -govt

ADEN, July 22 (Reuters) - A senior military official in Yemen survived an assassination attempt on Sunday in the southern province of Hadramaut, residents and the defence ministry said.
A roadside bomb went off as a convoy carrying Colonel Yahia al-Rusaishan, the commander of the air force in Hadramaut, passed through the port city of al-Mukalla, wounding him and three of his aides, residents said.
The Ministry of Defence described the attack in a text message as an "act of terror".
It was the latest in a string of assassination attempts against security officials in southern Yemen, where al Qaeda-linked Islamists gained a foothold during a 14-month uprising against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh last year.
Yemen's proximity to Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil producer, has seen the United States back a major Yemeni offensive against the militants which has notched up a series of successes in recent months.
Washington and Riyadh have both been the targets of abortive attacks by Yemen's al Qaeda wing and backed a power transfer deal that replaced Saleh with his deputy in February.
Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Saleh's successor, took office promising to reunify the military and to fight al Qaeda. In May, he launched a military offensive with U.S. backing that drove Islamist fighters out of a host of towns in the south.
Since Hadi came to power, Washington has increased "counter-terrorism" activity in Yemen, targeting al Qaeda figures in drone and missile strikes.

Yemen police warn of terrorists in women’s attire

Security forces put on high alert following suspect’s arrest
    By Saeed Al Batati, Correspondent
July 22, 2012
Gulf News
Sana’a: Yemeni security forces are on high alert following the arrest of a man disguised as a woman, who it is alleged intended to attack a security checkpoint. No details were provided on the suspect.
The Ministry of Interior said on Saturday that terrorists have adopted tactics, including wearing women’s attire or military uniform to target security and military checkpoints.
Earlier this month, the ministry ordered police to intensify security measures around foreign and government facilities in the capital and other important places. Al Qaida has claimed responsibility for many attacks in Yemen. On July 11, a blast killed at least 10 police cadets in the Yemen capital.

Somalia Seizes Weapons Said to Be From Al-Qaida

By ABDI GULED Associated Press
MOGADISHU, Somalia July 21, 2012 (AP)
Security forces of a semi-autonomous region in northern Somalia seized a boat carrying weapons that were being smuggled from al-Qaida militants in Yemen to fighters in Somalia, an official said Saturday.
The boat was carrying explosives, switches, rockets, guns, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades, said the ports and anti-piracy minister of Puntland, Said Mohamed Rage. He did not provide a detailed breakdown of how many weapons were seized.
"They (al-Qaida) were trying to offload the arms on the Alula coast, then to smuggle them to al-Shabab in the south of Somalia by road. They use our region as a gateway to smuggle fighters from Yemen and Somalia," he said.
One Yemeni man was arrested when the boat was seized Friday afternoon, he added.
Al-Qaida and al-Shabab — the most powerful militant group in Somalia — announced a merger earlier this year.
Al-Shabab, however, has been under increasing military pressure across Somalia over the last year because of stepped-up operations by the African Union military force and Ethiopian troops.
Human traffickers use the Puntland region to send refugees across the Gulf of Aden over to Yemen, and Rage said that hundreds of al-Shabab fighters are trying to blend in with that human trafficking network.
Puntland fears that al-Qaida-linked violence in Yemen will eventually spill over into northeastern Somalia.
"Their next base will be the mountainous hideouts in our region. They don't have any other alternative or base from which they can launch attacks. It's a worrying thing," Rage said.
Al-Shabab militants recently merged with a Puntland warlord — Mohamed Said Atom — and have clashed with government forces in Puntland several times this year.