Sunday, 24 July 2011

Suicide bombing kills four soldiers, as noose tightened on Al Qaeda in south Yemen

By Nasser Arrabyee/24/07/2011

The two-month war in south Yemen between Al Qaeda and government troops intensified over the last few days and entered what can be called a bone- breaking stage.

Al Qaeda lost senior leaders along with tens of fighters after local tribesmen in Abyan sided with the government troops for the first time. Local people say many airstrikes were implemented by US drones.

The two governments of Yemen and US acknowledge there is cooperation and coordination between them to defeat Al Qaeda which tries to exploit the current unrest in Yemen.

The majority of Zinjubar, the capital of Abyan, is now under the control of the government troops and the tribesmen who closed entrances of the city four days ago, according to local sources.

However, Al Qaeda is still resisting inside and outside Zinjubar.

At least four soldiers were killed and 21 others injured when a car bomb exploded a reinforcement convoy while on their way the troops in Zinjubar, the ministry of defense said Sunday.

The reinforcement troops were nearby the air defense camp in Al Mansora area of Aden in their way to Zinjubar to help the troops of 25th Mica who now are fighting after about two months of siege at the eastern outskirts of the city.

The suicide bomber , an Al Qaeda operative, who was killed in the blast, was driving a pick-up car, Hilux, the defense ministry said.

The suicide attack would not turn away the armed forces from continuing to cleanse Abyan province from terrorists, said a military source to the website of the defense ministry after the attack.

The parts of the body of the suicide bomber were scattered away in the site. His identity is not known yet, but a security official said investigations are going on to know that.

Tens of Al Qaeda operatives including middle level leaders were killed and injured in Zinjubar over the last two weeks.

Local tribesmen played an essential role in the last decisive battles. Tribesmen got angry after about 90,000 people displaced from their houses in Zinjubar because of the fighting.

"It is the first time that Al Qaeda is in direct confrontation with the tribesmen ,"said Saeed Obaid, chairman of Al Jemhi center for studies and researchers, a recently-established think-tank concerned with Al Qaeda affairs.

Al Qaeda fighters in Zinjubar, who call themselves Insar Shariah, supporters of Shariah (Islamic law),came from all over the country, mainly from Shabwah, Mareb, Al Jawf,and Hudhrmout.

Non-Yemenis are also participating in the battles. For instance, The Saudi Waleed Asiri, and the Egyptian Saleem Heba, Abu Eyman Al Mesri, were found among the dead bodies over the last few weeks.

" All Insar Shariah are part of AQAP in terms of ideological system, but not all of them are necessarily a part of the organizational system of AQAP," said the expert Obaid, the author of the book Al Qaeda in Yemen.

Aidh Al Shabwani, the leader of Al Qaeda in the eastern province of Mareb was buried in his home village in Abaida on Wednesday July 20 after he was killed in Zinjubar.

The death and burial of Al Shabwani was confirmed by many relatives and friends who attended the funeral and burial.

Musab Mabkhoot Al Sharif was also buried in Mareb two week earlier this month after he was killed in Zinjubar also where he was fighting with Al Qaeda operatives.

Mabkhoot Al Sharif, father of Musab, is the head of the opposition Islamist party, Islah, in Mareb.

Saleem Heba, abu Eyman Al Mesry, the Egyptian Al Qaeda operative was killed in Zinjubar earlier this month.

Abu Eyman Al Mesry lived with his wife in a farm under the protection of the prominent tribal leader of Bakil tribesmen in Al Jawf province, Ameen Al Okaimi.

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