Yemen troops capture al-Qaida strongholds
SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni troops seized two al-Qaida strongholds in the country's south on Tuesday as a result of a dayslong offensive that left dozens of troops and suspected militants dead, the country's Defense Ministry said.
The troops, backed by pro-government tribesmen, swept through the strongholds in the Mahfad region, the ministry said in a statement. The area saw heavy airstrikes during the past weeks on a suspected major al-Qaida base that included training grounds and weapons storehouses, tucked deep into the rugged mountains between Abyan and Shabwa provinces.
Militants bombed a government complex before they fled the center of the district at dawn, the ministry said, but did not provide details.
Later in the day, the ministry said its forces have for the first time in years gained control of another al-Qaida hideout in the district of Haban and Qarn al-Sawad in the mountains of Shabwa. The takeover of Haban comes after days of heavy bombardment and clashes, but the number of casualties was not immediately known.
Along with the offensive, the military is reaching out to tribes in the areas of Abyan and Shabwa to expel al-Qaida militants.
According to local officials and tribesmen, the military warned tribal leaders against sheltering al-Qaida militants and said it was prepared to stop its offensive if they persuade tribe members affiliated to al-Qaida to hand over their arms or leave. The officials said that the military plans to redeploy its forces to have a permanent force in these places to prevent al-Qaida militants from making a comeback. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
The ministry said in its statement that forces killed three wanted al-Qaida figures. One of them, nicknamed Picasso, was notorious for killing and mutilating his victims, usually those suspected to be informing police on militants' whereabouts, the ministry said, without providing his real name. Two others were identified as suspected al-Qaida operatives named Nasser Atef al-Makni and his brother Ahmed.
Yemen has been struggling for years with al-Qaida's branch here, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. During a yearlong uprising in 2011 that eventually overthrew longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, al-Qaida militants seized control of several towns and districts in the south, exploiting the security vacuum. They were driven out a year later by Yemeni forces backed by U.S. airstrikes.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Israel OKs Jewish homeland legislation
- Putin says he won’t be Russia’s president for life
- U.S. proposes extending talks with Iran as pessimism about nuclear deal grows
- 5 terror plots foiled, London police say
- Suicide blast kills 45 at Afghan volleyball tournament
- 100 terrorists killed in Kenya retaliation act
- Israeli mayor suspends jobs of some Arabs, citing synagogue attack
- Afghan parliament approves U.S., NATO agreements
- Iraqi forces claim 2 towns wrested from ISIS
- Moscow on slippery slope with Ukraine fighting, Merkel warns
- Smasher yields 1st look at new particles