In addition to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s increasing activity in southern Yemen, the terror group has also been conducting operations against the Shia Houthis in the northern province of Sa’ada. In a statement released on jihadist websites, AQAP claimed it killed a Houthi military commander. An excerpt of the statement, which has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, is below:
Your brothers penetrated their fortifications and camps, and two days ago, the left side of the mujahideen front advanced towards the center of the city of Kataf, and they are 500 meters away from it. This city is about 25 kilometers away from the center of Damaj and after it is Khaniq, then Dmaj.
Your brothers were able to kill the [Shi’ite] military commander Abu Ali al-Hakim with a sticky device that was fastened to his vehicle while he was in a restaurant. This [Shi’ite] swore a day before his killing that he would attack al-Bariq Mountain (a mountain directly overlooking the center) and enjoy the women of Damaj, may Allah shame him.
AQAP has been targeting the Shia in the north for years, often with the support of the Yemeni government, which seeks to crush the Houthi rebels. In November 2010, an AQAP suicide bomber killed 17 people, including a top Houthi leader and his son.
In early Decemebr, AQAP officially declared war on the Houthis. Ibrahim Suleiman al Rubaish, al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula’s Mufti, issued the announcement and called the Shia a “virus” on the Sunni people. Rubaish was held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before he was released in 2006.