AQAP claims attacks targeting Houthi leaders in Dhamar

On Nov. 19, a Twitter account affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed credit for a series of attacks that took place this week, including a twin improvised explosive device (IED) attack on two Houthi leaders in the central Yemeni province of Dhamar. The Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, are northern rebels from a minority Shiite sect who overran Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a in late September and have since continued their military advance through the country, taking Dhamar province in mid-October.

AQAP claimed that its fighters carried out two separate IED attacks in the provincial capital city of Dhamar on Nov. 17, targeting the residences of two Houthi leaders. Fighters from the “Abi Bakr al-Sadeeq Brigade” from Ibb province allegedly planted the IEDs. The AQAP statement indicated that the first IED attack targeted the home of Houthi leader Abdallah Hassan al Washli at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 using an 8-kilogram bomb made from TNT. The residence of a second Houthi leader named Banus, located in the Ma’bar section of Dhamar, was targeted at 8:15 p.m. The AQAP statement claimed that the attacks resulted in casualties and significant material damage.

These latest attacks in Dhamar came just hours after AQAP fighters assassinated another Houthi leader in the city, Khaled al Washli. A statement released that day by the jihadist group said that AQAP fighters opened fire at 11:00 a.m. as al Washli was near the Anas public market in Dhamar. Notably, the statement asserted that the attack was carried out by Ansar al Sharia’s al-Farouq Brigade, which is usually based in the nearby province of Radaa. In 2012, the US Department of State identified Ansar al Sharia as an alias for AQAP.

AQAP also claimed credit for an attack on Houthi fighters that took place in Baydah province on Nov. 19. In that incident, the jihadist group detonated an IED on a Houthi vehicle close to the Hayd al Majel Cemetery in the Tha region of Radaa. No more information regarding that attack was forthcoming from AQAP.

AQAP has also claimed credit for an IED attack on a military armored vehicle that took place on Nov. 17 in eastern Hadramout province. The statement indicated that the attack occurred at 10:00 a.m. as the vehicle was driving along the road connecting the cities of Shibam and Seyoun. According to the jihadist group, three soldiers were killed in the operation and the remaining troops were injured.

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