Al Qaeda ambush kills 12 Yemeni soldiers and leaves them decapitated

This marks the first attack on the forces since they launched their campaign to purge Hadramawt province from Al Qaeda

A Yemeni fighter loyal to the government backed by the Saudi-led coalition stands atop a destroyed tank near the town of Al-Shurayja in the southern Lahij province, about 66 kilometres southwest of the city of Taez on March 27, 2018.  / AFP PHOTO / SALEH AL-OBEIDI
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An Al Qaeda ambush killed 12 Yemeni elite forces in what has been the deadliest single attack on the military this year.

The soldiers were ambushed while deployed in Al Safra outpost located in the Hadramawt province, a strategic Al Qaeda stronghold that shares a 600-kilometre border with Saudi Arabia.

Soldiers looking to capture the province from Al Qaeda, also known as AQAP, sustained a series of hit-and-run attacks from the terrorists during a holdout on a key outpost.

The attack began on Wednesday with two Al Qaeda militants on a motorcycle gunning soldiers posted in Al Aqeek intersection.

The soldiers chased down the bikers only to find themselves caught in a crossfire down the road.

"Unexpectedly the soldiers found themselves in an ambush by dozens of Al Qaeda militants, who began firing on them until the soldiers ran out of ammunition. So many of them were killed," a soldier posted in Hadramawt told The National.

Soldiers arrived after the battle to find “corpses with their heads cut off” in a scene they described as a slaughter.

The forces deployed in the outpost said they noticed militants on top of the hills surrounding the stronghold days before but chose to ignore the perceived threats.

This marks the first Al Qaeda attack in Hadramawt province since the elite forces, backed by the Arab Coalition, liberated the main stronghold of the terrorist organisation in Wadi Al Misaini during a military operation named " Al-Faisal" launched in February.


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This comes as the Yemeni army made advances on Wednesday in northern Yemen by securing a strategic mountain overlooking a supply route used by Al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, the Arab coalition launched 30 air strikes on Wednesday on Houthi militias in Sada and on missile caches in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa.