U.S. Drones Reconvene Attacks in South Yemen
In the biggest U.S. drone attack since newly elected Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi ascended to presidency, at least 25 al Qaeda-linked fighters were killed in Southern Yemen. Residents reported planes bombarding the Jebel Khanafar mountain regions which al Qaeda –linked militant captured and has controlled for over a year.
The Islamist movement Ansar Al Shariah, an al-Qaeda afiilliate, has turned the police station in Azzan into its regional headquarters and claimed that the region would join Zinjibar as an emirate of their Islamic state. Abdullah Baotha, a former resident of the area, said that the group has imposed their strict interpretation of Islam on the residence in the form of social laws. “Televisions or magazines are not allowed. We know nothing of what happens around us,” said Baotha, “people are scared but cannot express their fear.”
According to Ali Obaid, spokesperson of the Yemen Military Committee, al-Qaeda the Azzan region has been a stronghold for al-Qaeda operations for almost a year. “They are in control of everything, and residents there are given the choice to obey orders or leave the district,” said a senior security official in Ataq, speaking on condition of anonymity.
President Hadi, in his first interview since he was elected into office, stated that al-Qaeda was able to exploit the instability encapsulating Yemen over the last year, and affirmed that Yemen will be a partner in the international war on terror and said. “There will be no leniency at all in the relentless and firm confrontation of the various forms, colors and nationalities of terrorism and extremism,” said Hadi. Additionally, Hadi encouraged the Shia Houthi movement, which reportedly has expressed a willingness to join in the national dialogue conference, to join the political process emphasizing that all sections of Yemeni society will be included in political transition.