Yemen: government forces smash Al Qaeda network in dawn raids

Local police and commandos clash for four hours with international terror group

Yemeni military security personnel sit in the back of a pick up truck at the airport in the southern city of Aden on January 3, 2021, as activity resumes after explosions rocked the building on December 30, killing or injuring dozens of people. The deadly blasts targeted cabinet members of Yemen's new government, killing at least 26 people, including three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and a journalist. / AFP / Saleh OBAIDI
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Security authorities in Hadramawt province, south-east Yemen, on Saturday announced successful raids on hideouts of Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.

"Our forces carried out raids in the early hours on Friday, a large-scale operation during which local police collaborated with troops from the Hadramawt elite forces, raiding several hideouts in Dawan, Al Dhulaiyah and Ras Al Hiweira," a security official told The National on Saturday.

“Our troops clashed with Al Qaeda elements for about four hours while raiding their hideouts."

The official said that after the fighting, terrorists were detained and a large amount of weapons and ammunition were seized.

“The terrorists were planning to carry out operations across the province of Hadramawt, but the plot was thwarted due to information we received regarding their movement,” he said.

Weapons confiscated included short-range rockets, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and boxes containing different types of ammunition, and explosive devices.

The security chief of Al Dhulaiyah, Capt Waleed bin Shamlan, confirmed that terrorists were captured on the battlefield but declined to say how many.

The raids follow an increase in assassinations by Aqap in the Wadi Hadramawt area.

In late December, gunmen assassinated a policeman at a checkpoint at the western entrance of Sayoun city, in central Hadramawt.

That attack followed the assassination of four people in March in a single day, in Sayoun and Al Qaten.

Al Qaeda largely withdrew from Al Mukalla in Hadramawt in 2016 after government and Emirati soldiers took control of the city.

The city had been used by the extremists to amass a fortune amid the chaos of civil war.

The port city of Mukalla was the most populous Yemeni city under direct Al Qaeda control from 2015 to 2016, when the army and its regional allies seized control.

Al Qaeda in Yemen has struggled in recent years after sustained security operations by Yemen’s armed forces and allies in the Coalition.

US air strikes have also hit the group, which rose to international infamy in 2009 after a failed plot to bomb an American airliner over the city of Chicago.

The group’s leader, Qasim Al Rimi, was killed in a US drone strike in February, four years after his predecessor, Nasir Al Wuhayshi, was killed by US aircraft.