Al-Qaida fighters storm security base in Yemen
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Suspected al-Qaida militants on Thursday overran a security base south of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, killing three policemen before fleeing to nearby mountains, security officials said.
The attack took place in the al-Adeen area in Ebb province, nearly 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Sanaa, the officials said. The militants held the facility for three hours and also robbed a local bank, though it was unclear how much money they took.
When government reinforcements arrived at the scene, the attackers fled to nearby mountains, the officials added, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.
Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen, formally known as the Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and considered by Washington to be the terror network’s most active offshoot, has been trying to gain a foothold in the al-Adeen area, a rugged and mountainous region south of the Yemeni capital.
Yemen has for years endured attacks by the Sunni militant group on its army, security forces and state facilities.
Recently, the country has also been grappling with a revolt by Shiite rebels known as the Houthis who have in the past weeks overrun Sanaa and two northern provinces.
This week, the Shiite rebels made another stunning sweep, taking control of the key Red Sea port city of Hodeida and the province of Damar south of the capital.
In Sanaa, suspected Sunni militants killed two Houthis and wounded two more when they tossed a grenade at one of the houses the rebels use as neighborhood headquarters on Wednesday night, security officials said. Also late Wednesday, a senior army officer, Col. Ali Zeid al-Dhary, who follows the Shiite Zaydi faith, was gunned down in Sanaa, according to the officials. The Houthis subscribe to the Zaydi faith.
Wednesday’s killings came less than a week after a suicide bomber from al-Qaida blew himself up among Houthis on their way to take part in an anti-government rally in the capital. At least 51 Houthis were killed and more than 70 were wounded in that bombing.
Apart from the rampant al-Qaida insurgency and the Shiite rebel blitz, Yemen has also endured crushing poverty that has bred resentment — and outright rebellion — that took root in a secessionist movement in its once-independent southern region.