by JIM KOURI
Terrorist attacks tied to members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen left more than 40 police officers and soldiers dead on Friday, counterterrorism analyst and former police detective Stanley Birnbaum said.
According to Birnbaum, the terrorists targeted military installations at two locations in Yemen’s Shabhwa district in the south using automobiles loaded with explosives. Upwards of 20 soldiers were killed in the blasts.
When the car bombs exploded at the military base, about 10 police officers in al-Nashama were gunned down by terrorists using military-style weapons, Birnbaum said.
A concealed bomb in one of the cars exploded in the midst of a platoon of soldiers when they attempted to question the vehicle’s driver at the gate to the military installation. The other car bomb apparently had been smuggled into the camp earlier and it also exploded, according to Yemeni police.
In Mayfaa, Yemen, suspected al-Qaeda gunmen attacked a military headquarters, leaving another 10 victims dead. The gunmen escaped from the army base using stolen military vehicles, as reported by the Herald Tribune.
AQAP is arguably the most dangerous affiliate of al-Qaeda and it continues to expand its reach into other Muslim nations, according to Muslim terrorism experts
The Shabhwa Province is a dangerous and violent region that has witnessed bitter fighting between Islamic terrorists and Yemeni security forces, according to Birnbaum.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, al-Qaeda in Iraq members claimed responsibility on Friday for bombings that killed about 80 Shiites. Al-Qaeda claims the improvised explosive devices were retaliation for the public executions of Sunni members of al-Qaeda by the mostly Shiite government officials.
Wednesday’s attacks involved car bombs and other explosives that mainly targeted parking lots, outdoor markets and restaurants in Shiite districts in Baghdad during the morning rush hour. Some Sunni areas were also hit later in the day.