Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

Aden security plan seeks to end a string of ISIS assassinations

Plan launched after security official killed by militants over the weekend

Fighters with Yemen's Security Belt Force, dominated by members of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), have deployed to back local officers to safeguard the city of Aden. AFP
Fighters with Yemen's Security Belt Force, dominated by members of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), have deployed to back local officers to safeguard the city of Aden. AFP

Security forces and troops from the Saudi led-Coalition have launched a major security operation in the wake of an ISIS assassination, the most recent in a string of killings by the militant group in the Yemeni city of Aden.

Officers confiscated illegal weapons, stopped motorcycle traffic and drivers with unregistered vehicles all over the city after the killing of security official Mohammed Saleh Al Radfani by ISIS militants on Saturday.

Hundreds of officers from Aden’s police, with support from the Security Belt Forces with armoured vehicles, deployed across the city and manned new checkpoints at key roundabouts and at junctions near state institutions and public facilities.

Cpt Abdulrahaman Al Naqeeb, the spokesperson of the security forces in Aden, told The National that the wide-ranging security campaign aimed to prevent terrorists from infiltrating the city by imposing a strict ban on the illegal weapon ownership, using the motor-cycles, and preventing the use of the unregistered cars in the city.

“We deployed heavy security forces in every single street and in the openings of the streets, thousands of our soldiers launched the security campaign since the early morning on Sunday, they have cracked down on hundreds of unlicensed motorcycles and unregistered cars and seized hundreds of unlicensed guns,” Cpt Al Naqeeb said.

“The terror groups took advantage of the chaos the city has been living in since last August when the clashes erupted between the government and the Southern Transitional Council,” he explained. “We have received information that terror elements affiliate with ISIS snuck into Aden recently. [These] ISIS members came from neighbouring provinces two months ago and emerged lately executing a number of assassinations targeting security officers in Al Mansoura city and Al Sheikh Othman city north of Aden.

“The criminal elements mostly used motor-cycles to easily move to execute their crimes in the city,” Cpt Al Naqeeb added. “Our forces will deal strictly with all the illegal cases which provides a good environment for the terror cells to move in the city and execute their agenda with ease.”

The new security campaign was implemented quickly in the city, which is recognized as an interim seat for the Yemen internationally recognized government.

Saturday’s attack that killed Al-Radfani was the third in a string of assassinations carried out against security officers and military commanders in the week after the Yemeni government returned to the city.

Unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles have now assassinated three security officers including Al Radfani who was shot near his home in Al Mansoura city. ISIS claimed responsibility for the operation.

A commander in the Yemeni army survived an assassination attempt launched by unidentified gunmen who opened fire on his car while he was driving home last week.

Aden has been rocked by violence throughout the ongoing civil war although it has been one of the most stable areas in recent years. A major factor contributing to the recent stability are the six, 100-strong UAE trained and funded counter-terror divisions in Aden.

At the end of August, a similar security plan was implemented but it was suspended when the city was hit by clashes between pro-government and pro-STC forces in the city.

The tension between the two sides who are both supported by the international coalition in the fight against Houthi rebels has been resolved after a deal negotiated by Saudi Arabia.

Updated: December 9, 2019 05:37 PM

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