Al Qaeda plans to hit US Embassy, other Sanaa targets, after diversionary strike in Mukallah, report; Update: drones in al Baydah & Jaar, Ethiopians in Abyan
Sounds bad, kind of a vehicular Mumbai style swarm. There’s no way the US embassy doesn’t know this already though right? The article was published last night at 9pm. Also note there’s sources and there’s security sources. This is but one reason why freedom of the press is so important in Yemen–open source AQAP reporting. There’s history and links to news articles on Ibrahim al Banaa below.
Related: Yes they are apparently all over it. US drones strikes kill 25 in Yemen overnight:
US drones raided several hideouts of the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda wing in the southeast restive province of Al-Baydha on Friday night. At least 25 AQAP militants were killed, including senior figures, with several other militants being wounded in an air strike conducted by the United States forces according to local website news…Moreover recent news that al-Shaba’a, the Ethiopian al-Qaeda wing had sent hundreds of Jihadists over to Abyan to join in Ansar al-Sharia, has been the cause of great concerns for both the government and the civilian population, as they feel their land could become the ground of a mighty war.
Ethiopians? al Shaba’a? 1) Maybe these are the nine mystery ships that everyone is talking about arriving before last Sunday’s attack on the military base in Abyan that killed nearly 200 Yemeni soldiers and 2) How weak is AQAP that they need to import fighters?
There’s also reports of drone strikes in Jaar, Abyan that destroyed the military equipment AQAP captured from the army last week-end. Update: The al Baydah airstrikes hit the AQAP training camp and targeted local al-Qaeda leader Abdulwahhab al-Homaiqani, the BBC reports. Its always good when there are no immediate reports of civilian casualties, I would have heard by now.
The Yemeni soldiers captured (who weren’t beheaded or otherwise mutilated) were paraded around Jaar, forced to train the terrorists on how to operate the tanks, and now are threatened with execution if the govt doesn’t release AQ prisoners.
The YO article regarding reports of an impending attack follows: Yemen Observer:
Yemen based al-Qaeda plans strikes on Sana’a and Mukala Reliable sources have said that al-Qaeda has been preparing for its largest operations yet in the capital city of Sana’a, operations aimed at strategic sites including military and security installments and embassies.
Sources said that al-Qaeda cells in the areas of Zindan and Arhab have trained for operations involving the storming of fortified sites, attacking fixed and mobile targets while aboard vehicles and motorbikes, and that al-Qaeda militants have entered Sana’a in preparation for carrying out their attacks in the coming few days.
The sources expect that al-Qaeda’s potential targets include the Airbase in Sana’a, the Interior Ministry, Republican Guard units and a number of embassies, including the American embassy.
The sources confirmed information regarding intentions by al-Qaeda to attack Mukala to divert attention its plans in Sana’a.
Security sources said that over 400 al-Qaeda militants are currently in Shabwa’s Azan Directorate, with three al-Qaeda leaders in charge (Ibrahim al-Bana, an Egyptian, Qasem al-Rimi and Shaker Hamel) of plans to attack vital installations, security sites, and important government facilities as part of a plan to expand their so-called Azan Islamic state to Mukala.
This coincides with the arrival of militants from the Somali al-Shabab al-Muslim to Yemen to support local al-Qaeda elements. Citizens in the coastal Shagra town said that they saw about 300 armed African men traveling from Azan to Zinjubar.
On its website, the Interior Ministry emphasized the government’s ability “to confront such adventurous terrorist plans, which show the true confusion of al-Qaeda, that knows that their end is eminent in Yemen in light of tendency of the restructure of the army on national basis and the comprehensive national dialogue in compatibility with the scheduled provisions of the operational mechanisms of the GCC initiative.”
In preparation for the attacks on Mukala, the Interior Ministry ordered their leadership in Hadramout and Shabwa to step up security precautions at all checkpoints leading to the two governorates and to stay prepared to face any terrorist actions.
Field sources in Abyan, in southern Yemen, said that the 111th Brigade in Lawder shelled heavy artillery trucks suspected of carrying weapons to al-Qaeda when they passed Akad area, to the east of Lawder.
A source said added that one of the trucks was hit but that they didn’t learn the extent of the damage caused, as they were in an area under al-Qaeda control. The source said that information indicated the trucks were carrying weapons to al-Qaeda fighters in Hadramout.
The interior Ministry said it had received information that armed al-Qaeda fighters were arriving in Yemen and that the ministry had taken measures to prevent them from entering Yemeni territories.
The cabinet held an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday to discuss the challenges posed by terrorist forces in certain governorates, and especially the savage attack in Abyan which killed over 120 soldiers and officers from army and security forces.
The Cabinet overlooked a report that included details of the incidence from the Defense Minister, as well as details of other terrorist activities carried out by al-Qaeda in Hadramout, al-Baidha, Shabwa and Aden.
The cabinet also stressed the need for the unification of security and military efforts, and elaborated on visions and plans “to face and defeat the evil forces to restore security and public tranquility.”
The Cabinet urged the Military Committee to accelerate their practical procedures to restructure the armed and security forces.
The Council of Ministers has ordered governors and military and security officials to live up to their commitments, and stressed that the government would hold accountable and take measures against those who fail to meet their responsibilities.
The Cabinet approved the formation of a ministerial committee consisting of the Ministers of Defense, the Interior, Local Administration, Justice and the Civil Services, to take charge of adopting all necessary measures to achieve stability and security and to investigate security defects, and to investigate events in Abyan. The committee has been directed to submit immediate reports to the cabinet so that it may take measures to deal with the situation.
The Cabinet said the government would not hesitate to take all measures to deter and eradicate terrorism and extremism of all sorts and forms. “We will provide all support to the military and security forces to carry out their duties, so as to enhance security and stability and eliminate terrorism,” read a statement issued by the cabinet on Wednesday.
It asked clerics, imams, and intellectuals to inform the public of Islamic rules that refute extremism and terror and prohibit the killing of innocent people under the pretence of serving Islam and of implementing Islamic rules, as is claimed by terrorist groups.
Meanwhile, local sources in Abyan said on Monday that al-Qaeda is forcing detained soldiers to train its militants on the use of modern tank, artillery units and other heavy weapons that it seized after attacking troop positions last Sunday in south Yemen.
About 60 soldiers were detained and taken to the Taliban-style, al-Qaeda-declared Islamic Emirate of Ja’ar in the southern province of Abyan on Sunday morning. More than 110 soldiers were killed and more than 150 other injured when al-Qaeda operatives attacked camps and positions in Dawfas area, near Zinjubar, the capital of Abyan.
About 20 al-Qaeda fighters were killed and dozens were injured, according to sources in Ja’ar.
Security sources have revealed that among those killed was Mohammed al-Haniq, the emir of al-Qaeda in the Arhab district.
“On Monday in Ja’ar, detained soldiers from the Dawfas battles were witnessed training al- Qaeda fighters on the use of looted tanks and artillery units under gun point,” said local sources.
Although American and Yemeni fighters jets tried to bomb the seized heavy weaponry on Sunday, they failed to destroy everything, said sources.
Newly-elected president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi vowed to crush all terrorist hideouts in Abyan and other places.
“The confrontation will continue with all force until the last terrorist is killed,” said President Hadi in a meeting on Monday with American, British, and Saudi officials and diplomats.
The country’s Supreme Military Committee also held a meeting with 10 Arab and Foreign ambassadors who assisted Yemenis in extracting themselves from their political crisis to discuss further serious confrontations with al-Qaeda.
In a statement released to media outlets on Monday, the families of dead and injured soldiers demanded that newly-elected President Hadi should strike with an iron fist those responsible for the massacre in Dawfas.
The families demanded that the Minister of Defense and Interior Minister resign and that an investigation committee be formed.
Meanwhile, six al-Qaeda suspects in possession of a car bomb were arrested early Monday morning in Sanaa, according to security authorities. Earlier in the week, another car bomb was discovered and confiscated. Authorities had been looking for three car bombs made in the Arhab area, about 30 km north of the capital. Arhab is the home district of extremist cleric Abdul Majid al-Zandani, who has been accused by the United States and the United Nations of being a global terrorist.
Last Wednesday, February, 29, al-Qaeda threatened to attack places outside the battlefield if government troops failed to withdraw from the vicinity of Zinjubar within ten days.
“We, Ansar al-Shariah in the State of Abyan, give the government an ultimatum of 10 days to withdraw all troops from around Zinjubar, and to compensate the displaced persons,” said Abu Hamzah Jalal Beledi, emir of Ansar al-Shariah in the State of Abyan, in a statement sent via SMS by one of his assistants, who called himself Abu al-Waleed.
“If the troops are not withdrawn, we will attack outside the battle field, and we might have to implement the ‘flooding river’ plan,” said the leader of al-Qaeda in Zinjubar.
The al-Qaeda threat came only two days after local military command issued an ultimatum of one week for Al-Qaeda operatives to leave the city of Zinjubar, with the threat that troops would storm the city if this did not happen.
Because the YO, YT, News Yemen and many others have lost their archives over the years, I usually copy the whole text of important articles.