Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula conducted two ambushes in Yemen today, killing 13 Yemeni soldiers and wounding several more, including a brigade commander, in attacks in the southern province of Abyab.
In the first attack, AQAP fighters ambushed a convoy of Yemeni troops from Brigade 111 in Abyan’s district of Lauder, killing 12 soldiers. The AQAP ambush team used heavy machine guns and RPGs in the attack, according to the The Yemen Post. No AQAP fighters were reported killed in the firefight.
In a second attack, AQAP detonated a roadside bomb as Muhsen Juzailan, the commander of Brigade 111, and local officials were traveling in Lauder. The commander’s bodyguard was killed, while he and three other soldiers were wounded, some critically, The Yemen Post reported later.
Both attacks took place in Lauder, where Yemeni security forces launched a major operation last summer. In August, the interior ministry claimed that the district of Lauder in Abyan province had been cleared of al Qaeda fighters, but attacks in the district have persisted.
In a propaganda tape released days ago, al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula claimed it conducted 49 attacks in Yemen during the second half of 2010. AQAP said it targeted security forces and political figures and carried out operations in five of Yemen’s provinces, including Abyan.
The group is known to operate terror camps in Aden, Marib, Abyan, Sa’ada, and in the Alehimp and Sanhan regions in Sana’a. It has conducted attacks on oil facilities, tourists, the Yemeni security forces, and the US and British embassies in Sana’a.
Abu Hurayrah Qasim al Raymi, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s military commander.
Last summer, Qasim al Raymi, the military commander for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Mohammed Said al Umdah Gharib al T’aizzi, a senior AQAP military commander in southern Yemen, both claimed the terror group has raised a 12,000-fighter-strong army in the southern Yemeni provinces of Aden and Abyan.
T’aizzi said the Yemeni government was complicit in allowing the US to conduct Predator and cruise missile airstrikes in Abyan and Marib, and he vowed to attack the government and security forces for working with the US. Al Raymi said that the army was being raised to “free this land of crusaders and their apostate agents.”
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