Sunday, 21 August 2011

11 tribesmen killed in south Yemen suicide attacks

Source: AFP,21/08/2011
ADEN, Yemen — Eleven Yemeni tribesmen were killed overnight in two suicide attacks in the southern province of Abyan, a stronghold of Al-Qaeda, tribal sources and medics told AFP on Sunday.

Tribal sources accused Al-Qaeda members of carrying out the attacks in two villages of Abyan province, where Yemeni tribesmen and the army have been battling militants from the "Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law)" who are believed to be close to the Al-Qaeda network.

A suicide bomber killed Sheikh Abu Bahr Ashal, chief of the Ashal tribe, and two others as he detonated an explosive belt he was wearing in Moudia, east of Zinjibar -- the provincial capital mostly seized by militants since May.

Ashal and one of his companions wwere killed instantly, while the third victim, a soldier, died of his wounds in hospital, a tribal source told AFP.

A medical source confirmed the deaths.
Meanwhile, eight people were killed and 20 others wounded when a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a post of armed tribesmen in the area of Arkub, near the town of Shaqra, which was taken over by extremist militants last week, a tribal source said.

The car bomb was followed by an attack by mortars which triggered a fire fight that lasted for nearly two hours, the same source said.

A medical source said that seven of the wounded sustained serious injuries and were taken to a hospital in the neighbouring province of Baida.

Yemeni tribesmen siding with government forces have in past weeks been locked in battle with suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Abyan, especially in 

The army has been battling the Partisans of Sharia militants, who have besieged its 25th Mechanised Brigade base in Zinjibar since May.
Apart from Shaqra and Zinjibar, Islamist gunmen control the village of Jaar, while Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the local branch of the jihadist network, is active in most of the lawless southern and eastern provinces.

The international community has expressed fears that the power vacuum in the impoverished country could play into the hands of AQAP, which was behind several attacks, including the failed Christmas Day attempt to blow a US airliner over Detroit in 2009.
Yemen has been gripped by political turmoil since an uprising against the 33-year-old rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, now recovering from bomb blast wounds, erupted in January. Hundreds have died in battles between security forces and protesters, and between security forces and Al-Qaeda fighters.

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