The Yemen Post reports that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has established a stronghold in the mountains of the Al Mahfad area in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan:
Al-Qaeda militants who escaped Zinjibar and Jaar have set up a new stronghold in Al-Mahfad area of Abyan, media sources revealed on Wednesday.
The sources made clear that Al-Mahfad is an extremely rugged mountain ranges in the borders with Shabwa governorate.
They further said that Al-Qaeda leaders and militants were monitored while they were heading to Al-Mahafad during the past days, affirming that they set up training camps in the area.
It will be interesting to see if the US now steps up drone airstrikes in Al Mahfad.
While AQAP has suffered a setback after being ousted from the cities of Zinjibar, Jaar, and Shaqra in Abyan province, and Azzan in Shabwa, the group still operates in the remote areas of southern Yemen. The assassination of the southern military commander in Aden as well as the suicide attack that killed more than 100 soldiers in Sana’a shows that the terror group is still capable of striking in Yemen’s major cities.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.