AQAP’s Ansar al Sharia releases video of suicide attack

Ansar al Sharia, the political front group for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, has released a videotape of a suicide attack in Aden that killed five Yemeni soldiers.

The videotape, which is just over a minute long, was released on the al Qaeda-linked Shumukh al Islam forum on Aug. 20 by Ansar al Sharia and has since been published on YouTube by the SITE Intelligence Group. According to a brief statement accompanying the video, the suicide bomber struck a military convoy in Aden as it was traveling to the neighboring province of Abyan.

Although the video is undated, it appears to show the July 25 suicide attack that targeted a military convoy in Aden as it was traveling to Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, which is one of three major cities under AQAP control. In that attack, a car rammed into convoy, killing five soldiers and wounding 25 more, according to the Yemen Post.

There has been one other suicide attack in Aden since May 2011, when Ansar al Sharia was formed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to act as a political front for the terror group and other allied jihadist organizations. The other suicide attack took place on June 24, when a bomber killed three soldiers as they patrolled in the city.

The video, which is in 3GP format, seems to have been taken on a cell phone by a person in a car near the attack. Yemeni soldiers are seen sitting atop tanks and armored vehicles, which appear to be resting on flatbed transportation trucks. A car is then seen moving quickly toward the Yemeni soldiers, before disappearing in a fireball that also engulfs several of the transport trucks and armored vehicles.

The attack was carried out by Turki Saad Muhammad Qulais al Shahrani, “an explosive expert for al Qaeda” who was from Saudi Arabia, according to a report in the Yemen Post.

For more information on Ansar al Sharia, AQAP’s rise in southern Yemen, and US counterterrorism efforts, see LWJ report, US ‘drones’ kill 15 al Qaeda fighters in southern Yemen.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Nolan says:

    It should be noted that Al-Shahrani appears on the newest Saudi most wanted list released in January of this year. It is strange that he would commit a suicide bombing if he was an explosives expert and therefore vital to the group, but perhaps he meant to use himself for propaganda via the video.

  • Abu Samuel says:

    I agree that it seems a little strange that an “explosives expert” would be used for a suicide bombing but it should be remembered that the emotional desire for martyrdom runs very high amongst the members of groups such as Al-Qaeda.
    I would guess that any expertise that he had has already been passed on and that he probably persuaded those higher up the chain of command that he deserved the opportunity to undertake this attack.


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