Over 40 Al-Qaeda militants killed in Abyan, Al-Baidha

Published on 12 March 2012 in News
Abdurrahman Anees (author)

Abdurrahman Anees

Over 20 armed militants were killed in joint American-Yemeni airstrikes launched on Friday against areas believed to be Al-Qaeda’s strongholds.

Over 20 armed militants were killed in joint American-Yemeni airstrikes launched on Friday against areas believed to be Al-Qaeda’s strongholds.

ABYAN, March 11 — More than 40 people were killed in air -raids carried out against Al-Qaeda militant strongholds in the governorates of Abyan and Al-Baidhaa on Friday evening. For its part, the Ansar Al-Shariah militant group recognized the deaths of only 17 militants.

Tribal sources affirmed that large numbers of Al-Qaeda militants were killed following violent airstrikes on Wadi Al-Makhnaq in Al-Baidhaa and Ja’ar in Abyan.

A local source in Al-Baidha told the Yemen Times that the armed militants held a funeral for 17 of their comrades on Saturday evening. The source stated that the funeral did not include all the bodies of men killed by Yemeni and American airstrikes on Friday.

Mohamed Edrees, a tribal leader in Al-Baidha, told the Yemen Times that on Friday evening, more than 20 persons were killed during airstrikes launched against Mamdood and Dogi, two areas recognized as hideouts for armed militants.

On Friday, the governorates of Al-Baidha and Abyan witnessed similar strikes against the Ansar Al-Sharia group, which has taken complete control of Ja’ar and  changed the town's name to the “Emirate of Qar.”

According to several sources, the air attacks were directed at militant strongholds in Al-Makhnaq, Dhabiah and Mamdood in Baidha. Ansar Al-Shariah positions in the vicinity of the October 7 Factory in Al-Makhzan were also bombed.

Dozens of soldiers are held inside the Al-Maz Company, owned by Yahya Saleh, nephew of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The soldiers were captured during armed confrontations in Dofas on March 4.

Sources close to Ansar Al-Sharia stated that no soldiers were wounded or killed during the recent raids.

The militants have demanded that 300 Al-Qaeda militants be released in return for the release of 72 captured soldiers.

While Yemeni officials say the air-fighters used to bombard positions in Abyan and Al-Baidhaa were Yemeni, the militants groups have said that they were American. Locals affirmed that they heard the sounds of unmanned drone aircrafts flying before the strikes took place.

With regard to Ansar Al-Sharia's material losses, several sources said that a number of military vehicles and pieces of equipment that had been captured by Al-Qaeda militants in clashes in Dofas were destroyed.

Official media outlets quoted the governor of Al-Baidhaa, Mohammad Nasser Al-Amiri, as saying that more than 30 militants - including Egyptian, Syrian, Pakistani, and Afghan nationals - were killed in the raids, which targeted terrorist elements at Wadi al-Makhnaq.

In a statement published on the Defense Ministry website, the governor of Al-Baidhaain stated that the raids were successful.

He pointed out that the strikes targeted a meeting between terrorist operatives at a camp in the region.

He added that other raids had been launched against caves that were used by terrorists as weapons and ammunition stores.

Al-Amiri indicated that some corpses had been blown apart and could not be positively identified. The governor of Al-Baidhaa said some bodies had been buried at Al-Zaher Cemetery, while other bodies had been transported to Abyan to be buried there.