“From The Field: Raiding the Brum Checkpoint – Wilayat Hadramawt.” Source: Twitter.
Today, a Twitter account linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video and pictures documenting an attack from April of this year targeting a military checkpoint near the coastal city of Mukallah in eastern Hadramout province. The attack took place at around 3 a.m. on April 8 at the Brum security checkpoint, which is located about 40 kilometers from Mukallah. Media reports shortly after the attack claimed that the attack was carried out by “anonymous militants” who were “believed to belong to al Qaeda,” but today’s media release by AQAP confirms that the attack was indeed the work of al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch.
A security official in Hadramout at the time estimated that six assailants wearing military fatigues staged a surprise attack on the checkpoint in the early hours of the morning, using light artillery and hand grenades. The same official claimed that the assailants moved on to a nearby police headquarters after attacking the checkpoint, where they stripped soldiers of their weapons without killing any of them.
Today’s video, produced in August by AQAP’s media wing, al-Malahem Media, is the newest edition to AQAP’s “From The Field” series, which documents successful AQAP attacks in Yemen. The video begins with a jihadi nasheed, a religiously-themed song, playing as a soundtrack to footage of a gathering of AQAP fighters wielding rifles and subsequently praying together. The video then shows the fighters reviewing the attack plan by looking at a map of the area as well as reconnaissance videos on a laptop computer.
The following scene shows the attack cell meeting under the cover of night, embracing one another and preparing their weapons. A masked AQAP fighter is shown asking Allah to make the coming operation a success and grant them a “clear victory.”
The video then shows the attack cell sitting together shortly before their operation, with one of the fighters giving his parting speech to the group. The anonymous fighter emphasizes that “Allah, most high … has commanded us that you are among His supporters. Our carrying out [these operations] and our jihad against these tyrants is rather a response to Allah, most high.”
Next, the video documents the moments leading up to the attack, showing the fighters arriving at their preordained locations in pickup trucks. The screen then turns black and the following message appears:
There is almost not a day that passes by the Muslims of Yemen without their tasting woes from the checkpoints of the apostate military that is spread throughout the roads; there, the soldiers practice acts of waylay, intimidation, and wrongly taking the money of Muslims. Among these checkpoints is the Brum military checkpoint of ill-reputation on the Hadramawt coast, which has become known for the killing of Muslims and their families and injuring them by firing on their cars and taking their money; This motivated the mujahideen to attack it as well as the police headquarters close by as an act of retribution for the Muslims and to take revenge against its soldiers.
The video proceeds to show the attack unfolding as AQAP fighters appear to fire at the checkpoint and then advance towards the “enemy locations.” The fighters manage to gain full control of the checkpoint, and shouts of “Allahu Akbar” are heard as they spread across the military site. In an apparent effort to confirm that AQAP had taken the checkpoint, the video also proudly displays confiscated military documents found at the checkpoint.
At the conclusion of the video, the “achievements” of the operation are detailed. Eight Yemeni Special Forces soldiers were killed in the operation, and about 80 reportedly fled the scene. Other “achievements” include the capture of a sizable quantity of weapons, such as Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs, as well as the confiscation of a large number of “important military documents.”
The following are some of the photos from the April attack released by AQAP via Twitter:
AQAP fighters meeting before the attack:
Reviewing the attack plan:
ID and belongings of a Yemeni soldier confiscated during the attack:
A gathering of AQAP fighters (unclear whether this was taken before or after the night attack):
Military documents confiscated in the attack: