At dawn today, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters attacked the local government complex in Baydha as well as the residence of the provincial deputy governor. A local security source told the Yemeni newspaper Aden al Ghad that suspected AQAP militants carried out an armed assault this morning on the house of the provincial deputy governor, Sinan Halqoum, in Baydah City. Two of the attacking militants were reportedly killed during clashes with the government complex’s security forces. Other reports claimed that three of the attackers were killed in the confrontation.
A spokesman for the Yemeni armed forces, Brigadier Sa’id al Faqih, told the Yemeni media that three special forces soldiers were wounded while defending the government complex in Baydah.
Today’s attack is reminiscent of an AQAP attack in April during which militants assassinated the then deputy governor of Baydah, Hussein al Dayan. AQAP has routinely targeted Yemeni political, military, and intelligence officials, especially since Yemeni state forces recaptured territory that AQAP held between 2011-2012. Baydha province has become an AQAP stronghold ever since increasing numbers of militants migrated there after being expelled from neighboring Abyan province during the Yemeni military counteroffensive in 2012.
The Yemeni military has been engaged since late April in an ongoing offensive to root out AQAP militants from their strongholds, particularly those in the southern provinces. According to an AFP report, 374 Yemeni soldiers and other security force members have been killed since January in the violent clashes with AQAP militants in the south and with Shiite Houthi rebels in the northern provinces.