Hundreds of suspected al-Qaeda gunmen have captured the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar after heavy fighting with security forces.
Abyen considered to be the hottest governorate for al-Qaeda and the Jihad’s it’s the homeland of Tariq al-Fadhli the well know opposition person to Saleh government . in one of his rallies in the city of Zenjibar al-Fadhli calling for Immarah Islamiah.
Government officials said that the provincial capital was under the control of militants after fighting that began on Friday and had claimed 16 lives, including civilians.
The fighters “were able to gain control of the city of Zinjibar … and took over all government facilities” a security official told AFP. Only the headquarters of the the 25th mechanised brigade was holding out, he added, but it was besieged by the gunmen.
“About 300 Islamic militants and Al Qaeda men came into Zinjibar and took over everything on Friday,” said one resident.
An official said that another two soldiers were killed on Friday in clashes with suspected al-Qaeda fighters in the town of Loder, also in Abyan province.
Washington considers the Yemen-based Al Qaeda branch the world’s most active terror cell. The group has strongholds in remote mountain regions in the provinces of Shabwa, Abyan, Jouf and Marib
The United States, which has had little sway in Yemen where tribal allegiances predominate, has signaled to Saleh that he must cede power by warning it may review its aid. But experts say cutting assistance would only reduce U.S. influence further in a country crucial to American counter-terrorism efforts.
Still, President Barack Obama has faced criticism for not acting more assertively against Saleh, a longtime U.S. ally.
Last March Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has declared Abyan an Islamic emirate that is subjected to Al Qaeda authorities and a headquarters of its organization, the group announced on Wednesday.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has declared Abyan an Islamic emirate that is subjected to Al Qaeda authorities and a headquarters of its organization, the group announced on Wednesday.
Al-Qaeda issued its first statement, which was broadcast on Monday from Abyan’s Radio station which was taken over by their organization last Sunday along with the guest presidential palace, ammunition factory and militants and institutional entities in Khanfar district.
They were also able to manage re-running the radio since Monday evening and started from Tuesday morning with sermons and jihads songs.
This first statement included a call to women restricting them from going out except for necessities. They also addressed instructions to citizens urging them to obey the authorities of the emirate and to cooperate with and provoke them against American agents and the corrupted regime.
Media sources mentioned that Al-Qaeda groups that are taking Abyan districts as a main center for jihad existence in the Arabian Peninsula have carried out a series of extensive assistance of militias belonging to Hirak which managed to take over many parts of Abyan and have also been able to control large quantities of arms and ammunition, including heavy weapons and armored vehicles.
Al-Qaeda is likely to expand its base into areas towards Shabwa where many if its ranks have succeeded in controlling vital areas.
Same resources said that the same leaders of Al-Qaeda held a meeting Tuesday morning in Ja’ar which included personalities from different affiliations to manage the area’s affairs.
They also mentioned a mediation that is going on among social figures, imams of mosques and the armed group which took over the radio station and palace and aiming to hand the palace and radio station to the national committees formed in the region.
In the time where Al-Qaeda is working on expanding its base, Yemen is facing a big dilemma under the protests by opponents of President Saleh.