Qaeda threatens attacks on homes of Yemen security forces

Sunday 01/05/2016
Yemen victory in Mukalla was crushing blow to Qaeda

ADEN (Yemen) - Al-Qaeda in Yemen threatened Wednesday to target the homes of officers and soldiers who took part in a government offensive that drove militants out of key areas.

Government troops backed by air and ground support from a Saudi-led coalition launched last month a widespread operation against jihadists in south and southeastern Yemen.

"We warn all military leaders and soldiers who participated in the campaign that their houses are now legitimate targets for us," said an online statement issued by the Abyan province branch of Ansar al-Sharia, another name used by Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

"We advise their wives and children to leave their houses because they (the houses) will be our next target," the statement said.

Al-Qaeda fighters remain in Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan province, after government forces advanced towards the city in late April. Residents took to the streets demanding the extremists leave to spare the city any fighting.

The militants last month fled the key southeastern city of Mukalla, the capital of Hadramawt province, and other coastal areas, due to the government offensive.

Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is regarded by Washington as the network's most dangerous branch, and AQAP militants have come under repeated US air and drone strikes.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against Shiite Huthi rebels who had seized the capital Sanaa and other areas.

But it has recently turned its firepower against jihadists impeding the government's bid to firm up its grip on southern areas recaptured from the rebels.