Al-Qaeda attack kills 20 soldiers in Yemen Friday

According to Yemen experts, the simultaneous nature of the attacks Thursday revealed a high degree of coordination between the Houthis and Al Qaeda.
Friday 02/08/2019
An al-Qaeda logo is seen on a street sign in the town of Jaar in southern Abyan province, Yemen. (AP)
An al-Qaeda logo is seen on a street sign in the town of Jaar in southern Abyan province, Yemen. (AP)

ADEN - Al-Qaeda gunmen killed at least 20 soldiers in an attack on an army base in southern Yemen Friday, security officials said, a day after deadly assaults by Iran-backed rebels and a jihadist suicide bomber.

The gunmen stormed Al-Mahfad base in Abyan province and remained inside for several hours before military reinforcements came, three security officials told AFP, adding that the soldiers were killed in clashes with the jihadists.

"The Qaeda gunmen took advantage of what happened (Thursday) in Aden and launched an assault on Al-Mahfad base and clashed with soldiers," a government security official said.

"Military reinforcements were sent... and the gunmen were killed while others were driven out with air support from the (Saudi-led) coalition, in an operation that lasted hours," the official said.

On Thursday, separate attacks by Shia rebels and jihadists hit security forces in Yemen's second city Aden, killing more than 50 people, many of them newly trained police cadets, officials said.

The first attack was a suicide car bombing carried out by jihadists on a police station that killed 13 police officers and wounded several others, a security source said.

The second attack was carried out by the Houthi rebels, who said they launched a drone and a ballistic missile at a training camp west of Aden.

According to Yemen experts, the simultaneous nature of the attacks Thursday revealed a high degree of coordination between the Houthis and al-Qaeda. 

The aerial attack hit as senior commanders were overseeing a passing out parade for newly graduated cadets at Al-Jala Camp, 20 kilometres (13 miles) from the centre of Aden.

Aden is controlled by the Yemeni government and its supporters in a Saudi-led military coalition, which has been fighting the Iran backed rebels since 2015.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for the drone and missile attack on Al-Jala training camp but there was no claim of responsibility for the suicide bombing on the police station.

The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Islamic State group and other jihadists have flourished in the chaos of the civil war between the government and the Houthis.

The United States considers AQAP the global jihadist network's most dangerous branch and has waged a long-running drone war against its leaders.

(With AFP)