BY NY Staff
Yemeni anti-terrorism units supported by regular army troops launched an attack early Sunday against hideouts of suspected al-Qaida militants in the mountainous Arhab region north of Sanaa, killing three of them and arresting three others, military officials said.
The officials said the attack targeted militants who had fled from Shabwa and Abyan provinces, where the army launched a big offensive earlier this month causing them heavy losses and forcing others to flee to Arhab.
On Saturday night, Yemeni warplanes launched three airstrikes targeting suspected militants in cars the same area, killing two, the officials said.
The officials also said that a U.S. drone strike at dawn Sunday killed two suspected al-Qaida militants hiding in the Uther village in the same area, prompting others to flee to the nearby village of Wasil.
With U.S. logistic support, Yemeni army special forces attacked the Wasil village and fought a fierce battle with the fleeing militants which lasted for over one hour and resulted in the arrest of 12 militants including eight Saudis.
The Arhab area is a bastion for the country’s largest opposition Islamist Islah party which advocates for the application of Islamic laws in the country.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief the media.
Washington considers Yemen’s al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula the most active branch of the group and has assisted Yemen’s government with logistics, training and drone attacks.