US Drone strike kills three people Yemeni locals said to be ‘militants’

A US drone strike killed Monday afternoon three people local officials believed they were al-Qaeda members but didn’t identify any.

The drone strike hit the “suspects’” car in Qatn district of Hadramout, Yemen’s largest province where militants that government say to be al-Qaeda operatives have been battling with local government in more than one front.

Local website Barakishnet and Almasdaronline quoted local sources as saying that three suspected al-Qaeda people were killed by a drone strike Monday afternoon. They didn’t identify the killed people.

Riyadh Al Jahwari, the director of Qatn district, talked to Gulf News correspondent that a drone  strike hit three people he described to be “suspected al-Qaida militants”. Al Jahwari said that Qatn hospital received the three dead bodies but he didn’t identify them. AP also had similar account.

A security official in Sana’a told me that a drone strike killed three people believed to be al-Qaeda militants. “One of them [three people killed] is Abdullah Bin Hamood al-Saiari, a big al-Qaeda leader,” said the official, quoting a local man from Qatn district as saying. He didn’t identify the other two people. The information about the identity of one of the three people killed couldn’t be verified immediately.

The Yemeni government rarely give details about drone strike operations in the country.

The US has increased its drone campaign against militants in Yemen with president Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi’s full consent. Hadi described the drone strike to have a zero margin of error. The recent drone strikes have killed senior al-Qaeda operatives but have also killed civilians. Since last August, the drone strikes have targeted low level al-Qaeda suspects and in one occasion have targeted civilians, according to locals and security officials.

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Initial results of Yemen campaign against bearing arms

Initial results of Govt. campaign against bearing arms showed that over thirty AK-47 and about 12 guns have been confiscated at checkpoints around the capital Sana’a in the last two days.

The Supreme Security Committee (SSC) had agreed on this campaign to take unlicensed arms and prevent ‘manifestation of weapon’ across the country. The campaign was effective from last Saturday.

A security officer with knowledge about the first report (not yet in public domain) about the situation in capital Sana’a said that all arms confiscated so far had either official license or their bearers were soldiers in the army but weren’t in uniforms when they were arrested. In this case, the arms bearers will later get their arms back after they pledge not to carry them while off duty.

Only one case that was illegal , the officer said, was when police at a checkpoint in Hasaba district stopped on last Saturday a bunch of militias loyal to both Al Ahmar family (of Hashid confederation ) and Al Shayef (of Bakil confederation). The police had taken the militias’ arms but they were given back after police got ‘a phone call from senior security officials’.

The officer said that there were other cases in which the police didn’t deal with. Those were the widespread pick-ups loaded with heavy armed tribesmen roaming around the capital on a regular basis.

Yemen has an estimated 60 million firearms in private hands, roughly three for every citizen.

According to the latest news by the official Saba News Agency, Minister of Interior was briefed yesterday on the implementation of the campaign. It said that the campaign “aims to enhance security and stability, to maintain public order and social peace in the various governorates of the Republic through confronting all crimes and carrying and possession of weapon related issues.” The Objectives aren’t yet finished: “…and to prevent using vehicles in carrying out terrorist and subversive crimes and to reduce traffic accidents and arrest wanted people.”

 

Yemen has witnessed the largest security breakdown over the last two years. Over 200 of security and military officers have been assassinated. Burglary, carjacking, mugging, and kidnapping of foreigners have increased dramatically.

 

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Quick look at AQAP recent statement

Al-Qaeda offshoot in Yemen, know as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), released a statement earlier today to deny its role in a recent public bombing that generated a public outrage against the militant group. Two impoverished explosive devices (IED) went off last Thursday in a busy market in the capital Sana’a. Two people were killed and a dozen were injured. The outrage against AQAP was pervasive across Yemeni social media platforms.

The following was the main points AQAP statement highlighted:

·         1- We categorically deny any involvement in the Thursday bombing.

·       2-   We reaffirm that we are only at war with the Crusaders (America & its allies) along with whoever cooperates or collaborates with it (Govts that pledged war on terror).

·       3-   We condemn killing any Muslim whose blood is forbidden to shed (the implied exception here are those Muslims who pledged war on terror).

·         4- We caution all Muslims that such public bombing bears the hallmarks of American Govt that aims to distort the image of Jihad and Jihadists. The kind of such bombings are everywhere in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. 

 A quick look at the short statement shows the AQAP is monitoring social media very well and began realizing their reputation, put out by its pundits as sympathizers as the defender of the nation against the West, is at stake.

Another thing, which is alarming, the public souks across Yemen will likely witness more and more IEDs going off, with the perpetrator now already known: the American and its puppets. 

Over the past three years, more than two hundreds of Yemeni police and military officers have been assassinated by masked men the Govt. believed to be of the militant AQAP. Recently, the series of assassination has run rife, creating the largest part of the public anger. AQAP’s recent statement, however didn’t touch on that.

The statement, which seemed to have been prepared in a haste to alleviate the public anger, was written by inexperience sympathizer who, unlike slain cleric Anwar Alawlaki and other AQAP’s clerics, lacks a great deal of Sharia jurisprudence as well as justification skills.

Another last thing this statement and few others show is that the AQAP’s media men responsible for distribution the group’s materials were likely killed and its mailing list thus was lost. Since last year, particularly when the group was forced out of its stronghold in Abyan and Shabwa, the group has been largely dependent on one local writer who posted this (and all other recent) statement(s) through his Facebook page. A previous FB account of that same writer was closed down by Facebook administration for posting militant content.  

That was a quick look and should not be counted on. Yet, for an in depth analysis, readers should check the following experts in the militant group:

Gregory Johnson, author of The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda and the America’s War in Arabia. You can also follow him at: @gregorydjohnsen .

Jihadica, a website analyzing the militant group’s.

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Suspected al-Qaeda members ambush military near gas facilities

Suspected al-Qaeda members killed six Yemeni soldiers and a civilian near gas facilities east Yemen, said a security official.

The suspected al-Qaeda members ambushed a military checkpoint on Sunday early morning in Rathoom area of Shabwa province by launching a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the checkpoint at dawn, killing six soldiers while sleeping, said the official who asked to remain anonymous.

The checkpoint is set up along the coastal line road that leads to the gas facilities in Belhaf district of Shabwa province, 474 kms to the east of capital Sana’a.

One civilian was also killed while passing by the checkpoint. One soldier is still missing, said the official.

Names of the ambushed soldiers:

  • Abu Bakr Saeed al-Ashram
  • Jabr Ali Muhammed al-Mursi, Yareem district, Ibb province
  • Hashim Muhammed al-Humair, al-Odain, Ibb province
  • Abdullah al-Hasani, Raima province

 

The identities of the remaining soldiers killed, along with the civilian’s, have not been known yet, said the official.

The official said that the suspected al-Qaeda members ran away after the attack and didn’t try to proceed towards the gas facilities. 

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Official: Drone strike kills three Qaeda in Yemen, including Zawahiri’s close man

A drone strike killed three suspected al-Qaeda members including a leading figure in late afternoon east Yemen, a security official said.

The drone strike attacked a car carrying three members of al-Qaeda in Hadramout province, the security official said, requesting to remain anonymous.

The security official, citing security accounts in Mukalla city of Hadramout, said that one of the killed members was identified as Jamal Abdullah Saleh al-Nahdi. The other two members could not be recognized as they were charred, he said.

Al-Nahdi, the official said, is “described as a leading al-Qaeda figure who had been in the government top wanted list since 2007. “He is also known to have been one of the close men of al-Zawahiri [Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the global al-Qaeda network],” said the official.

The US government has increased its drone campaign against suspected al-Qaeda members in southern and eastern parts of the country, marking today’s strike the seventh in less than a month, said Mohammed Albasha, Spokesperson of Yemen Embassy in Washington D.C.

The information on the identity and background of the Al-Nahdi described by the official as the “leading figure” could not immediately be verified from another source. Run-state media usually give more details next day of the attacks.

Aden Al-Ghad, a local news site, had reported at 6 pm today about the drone strike. It said that two suspected al-Qaeda members were killed in the attack, giving no further details about the identities.

Al-Basha described the recent campaign against al-Qaeda as “the most intense Counter Terrorism campaign against al-Qaeda … Ever”.

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Update 1: Security official: Drone strikes kill AQAP suspects east Yemen

Update: Government confirmation- see last paragraph

Three suspected al-Qaeda members were killed midnight when drone strikes targeted their cars in two different locations east Yemen, said a security official.

The US drone launched three strikes at two cars carrying the suspects in Marib province, 173 to the east of the capital Sana’a. One car was hit in the center of Wadi Abeeda, and the other car was hit in an area called Al-Sandah, the security official said, requesting anonymity.

Local media had reported the drone strikes but gave no further details.

The main target of the strikes, he said, was a leading al-Qaeda figure called Qayed Salim al-Marwani, who was not in both cars destroyed but his three sons were.

The official identified the three people killed as Abdullah, al-Hasan, and al-Hussain, all sons of al-Marwani.

Information of the identities of those killed could not be immediately verified from another source.

Today, news website of Yemen’s Interior Ministry said that yesterday’s “air strike” in Marib killed three brothers, “all terrorists of al-Qaeda group”. It identified the names as Abdullah, al-Hasan, and al-Hussain, “all sons of al-Marwani”.

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Security official: Drone strikes kill AQAP suspects east Yemen

Three suspected al-Qaeda members were killed midnight when drone strikes targeted their cars in two different locations east Yemen, said a security official.

The US drone launched three strikes at two cars carrying the suspects in Marib province, 173 to the east of the capital Sana’a. One car was hit in the center of Wadi Abeeda, and the other car was hit in an area called Al-Sandah, the security official said, requesting anonymity.

Local media had reported the drone strikes but gave no further details.

The main target of the strikes, he said, was a leading al-Qaeda figure called Qayed Salim al-Marwani, who was not in both cars destroyed but his three sons were.

The official identified the three people killed as Abdullah, al-Hasan, and al-Hussain, all sons of al-Marwani.

Information of the identities of those killed could not be immediately verified from another source.

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