AQAP video details suicide assaults against Yemeni bases in Shabwa

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has released a video showing the attacks on three Yemeni military bases in Shabwa province that took place on Sept. 20. A copy of the video, which was published on YouTube yesterday and is embedded above, contains English subtitles.

More than 50 Yemeni policemen and soldiers were killed in the attacks, which targeted a military camp that was responsible for security at oilfields in Shabwa; a military checkpoint in the Al Nushaima area; and special forces encampment. Additionally, AQAP fighters failed in their attempt to attack the Balhaf liquid natural gas terminal on the coast [see LWJ report, AQAP launches multiple suicide assaults in southern Yemen].

The video shows computer-generated maps of the operations, and notes that a “blitzkrieg group” was involved in one of the attacks. The AQAP video is similar to another produced by the Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda’s affiliate, that documented operations against Iraqi security forces in Haditha in 2012. In that video, computer graphics and maps were used to detail the raid. The Haqqani Network has also produced similar videos detailing raids in Afghanistan.

In one clip of the AQAP video, a suicide bomber is captured on tape ramming into a Yemeni military base.

“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Here goes the martyrdom seeker. Here he goes,” the narrator says, and a white SUV rams into the base and detonates in a massive explosion. The narrator claims that 48 Yemeni soldiers died in the blast.

AQAP’s video also displays a large quantity of weapons and several vehicles that were seized after the special forces camp was overrun.

Additionally, the video shows a number of captured Yemeni soldiers. One soldier, who identifies himself as a captain, is interviewed. He claims that 21 Yemeni soldiers were captured by during the raids.

“Do you know that you and the Americans are in the same trench? The [American] spying drones are in the sky and you are on the ground,” an AQAP leader asks the group of Yemeni soldiers.

“What is the difference between you and the Americans? Haven’t you thought about this issue? Haven’t you considered yourselves and the Americans in one front? When Americans bombard our brothers with unmanned drones, who collect their bodies? It’s you the soldiers. You take their bodies. You and the Americans are in one front,” the AQAP leader chides the Yemeni soldiers.

“You and the Americans are one,” he later says to the soldiers. But he then says that they are not the target of AQAP, and appeals to the soldiers not to fight alongside the Americans.

AQAP followed up the Sept. 20 assaults in Shabwa with a raid on military headquarters in Mukallah in Hadramout on Sept. 30. The base was controlled by the AQAP fighters for days before the military retook control.

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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  • Birbal Dhar says:

    Interesting to know by the video, that islamic terrorists in Yemen who capture soldiers don’t tend to kill them, unlike those in other muslim countries such as Pakistan, where they generally kill them. I don’t know why in Yemen they do this, perhaps it’s for propaganda reasons, so that they don’t lose support from members of the public, or the leadership of the AQAP has pity on government soldiers, who have surrendered or been captured.

  • Neonmeat says:

    Fascinating video, firstly the attack, it seems they were able to drive right up to a group of Soldiers (guards?) and open fire upon them. Surely this is unacceptable from the Yemeni’s point of view? Should they not have better safeguards in place to prevent this?
    Also the speaker gave a strong argument to the soldiers (rather than just cutting their heads of like the Haqqanis would do) which seemed to sway them, was the captain tearful at one point? It is an argument I can imagine resonating with Americans also were roles reversed; foreigners flying drones over your country and essentially dictating military policy would have the average American up in arms I am sure.
    Also can anyone explain why some faces were blurred but others not? In particular of the soldiers, I can’t see why the Jihadis would want to keep the Soldiers identities secret? Unless those soldiers defected afterwards?

  • Dave says:

    Neon, the ability to drive a hostile vehicle up to a vehicle checkpoint isn’t in itself an indication of any failure. Driving up as the semi was being allowed through made the checkpoint all the more vulnerable.
    I don’t know how AQAP treats it prisoners, but I certainly wouldn’t accept this speech for a propaganda tape as certain fact. I don’t recall the AQAP releasing any execution videos such as we have seen for their brothers the Paki Taliban, or by al Nusra in Syria. But in their desire to export death to innocent civilians in the US and Europe, none are more bloodthirsty than these holy self-rightious pr**ks.

  • Pat G says:

    I imagine the selective blurring was for the sake of defectors. This is probably the most highly organized al Qaeda operation caught on video. Fascinating footage. Makes me want a SITE membership.

  • Amna Rizvi says:

    Video not working. Removed. Any alternate link pls?


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