AQAP and Houthis

By Fatik Al-Rodaini
Sana'a, August 15, 2011
Al Matamma district, in Yemen's northern province of Jawf witnessed a strong explosion rocked a government administration complex held by Zaidi Shiite rebels, killing one person and wounding three, late on Sunday.
The Houthi Group immediately accused the U.S. intelligence agencies of plotting the car-bomb attack, saying in a statement that the attack was intended to "provoke sectarian divisions between Yemenis", adding that the attack was aimed to "help maintain the unjust regime" of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been facing six months of protests calling for him to relinquish power. In fact, all signals said that there is no evidence of such an accusation.
On the other hand, analysts said that the suicide attack bore the hallmarks of the resurgent Al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), because the AQAP carried out two attacks against the Houthi Group in Saada and Jawf provinces one year ago.
Truce to End Fighting
The blast came two days after the Houthi rebels and the Islamist Islah party agreed to a truce to end the fighting that had flared intermittently since March when Jawf province, in which Al Matamma is located, fell to the anti-government tribes.
A tribal mediation sponsored the agreement that named the province governor who will take charge on August 17 when the Joint Meeting Parties declares the national council.
Sheikh Hussein Al-Thaneen from the Islah Party was picked as the governor and the eight-term agreement called for the withdrawal of all armed groups from their positions and that the province’s status will be similar to Saada’s.
The opposition named Faris Mana’a as governor of Saada months ago when the province, the stronghold of the Houthi Groups which fought the army for years, went out of control of the regime.
The agreement also provided that armed forces of those which joined the popular revolution or from the first armored division will deploy to the province to be in charge of the military camps inside it.
Hundreds were killed and injured in the battles between the Islah Party and the Houthi Group over military camps and control of Jawf.
AQAP: Holy War Against Houthis
Earlier this year, in January, leader of Al- Qaeda militants in Yemen declared "holy war" against the Houthi-led northern Shiite rebels, in an audio message posted on the internet by Al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
"To our Sunni fellows in northern Yemeni provinces of Saada, Al- Jouf and Amran, we (AQAP) announced jihad (holy war) against Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite advocates," Saeed Ali al-Shihri, deputy leader of the Yemen-based AQAP.
"The jihad against northern Shiites has been declared since the implementation of the AQAP's twin martyred car bombing attacks against convoys of the Shiite rebels' followers in northern provinces of Jawf and Saada on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26 of the last year," he said.
In the 17-minute audiotape, the Saudi fugitive al-Shihri justified his group's war against the Shiite rebels by claiming that the sectarian-motivated Houthi rebels attacked and displaced many Sunni families in the north.
AQAP Attacks Houthis three times
On 3 December 2010, a communiqué from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – dated 27 November 2010 – was released onto jihadist forums claiming responsibility for two suicide attacks against Houthis in Yemen.
It says that the first attack was carried out by Abu A’isha al-Sana’ani al-Hashimi against a procession of Houthis celebrating a religious occasion in Jawf on 24 November.  It adds that the attack killed over 30 and injured many others, and that amongst the dead were senior Houthi leaders, including Bader ad-Din al-Houthi.
It informs supporters that despite Houthi claims that Bader ad-Din died of natural causes, the group’s sources reported that he was amongst the victims of the 24-November attack.
The communiqué then goes on to claim the second attack which targeted Bader ad-Din’s funeral procession in Sa’ada on 26 November, which it says killed at least 70 and injured many others.  It identifies they bomber as Abu Abdullah al-Sana’ani.
Like AQAP’s previous communiqué claiming the 24-Novemver attack, the group warns that further attacks against Shias in Yemen are immanent.
In the earlier communique AQAP declared: ‘Following repeated calls from the People of the Sunna, and the failure of the apostate governments in Sana’a and Riyadh, with their armies, their capabilities and their vast wealth, to counter the Houthi Rejectionists, and leaving the People of the Sunna to an unknown fate, the mujahidin of the Arabian Peninsula decided, beginning with this martyrdom operation, to defend the honour of our Prophet’.
Moreover, it says that AQAP have formed ‘special units’ to target the Shia in Yemen and urges other Sunnis to join these units to defend themselves and their people from the ‘looming Shia threat’.
Yemen has witnessed sporadic battles since 2004 between government troops and rebels. The government has been accusing the rebels of seeking to re-establish the clerical rule overthrown by the Yemeni revolution in 1962 that created the Yemeni republic.
source: Yemen 24 News