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Al Qaeda targets southern Yemen – new wave of violence

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – Officials confirmed on Wednesday that an estimated nine people were killed in the southern province of Lahj after a road-side bomb exploded. The news came at a time when tribal leaders in north Yemen reported that clashes in between the Houthis (Zaidi militants organized under the leadership of Abdel-Malek Al Houthi) and Islahi loyalists (Sunni radical faction led by the powerful Al Ahmar tribal family)  have resumed in Al Jawf, north of the capital, Sana’a.

As Al Qaeda has intensified its terror attacks against the government in the south, increasingly targeting military interests and local state institutions, the state has had to stretch its resources ever thinner to address rising tribal tensions in the north.

A local official in Saber (Lahj province) told The Levant on Wednesday that suspected “Al Qaeda militantsdetonated a roadside explosive charge as bomb squads tried to defuse it while residents looked on, killing a total of nine people and wounding another 14.”

Al Qaeda has already claimed responsibility for the attack, prompting officials in Sana’a to fear that more attacks will come in the immediate future. AQAP has usually been working in waves of terror, often planning its operations in series in order to inflict maximum damaged and force the authorities to thin out their resources.

The official said three bomb disposal experts, two local residents and four members of security forces died in the explosion.

While the central government had hoped that an agreement signed with the International Monetary Fund earlier this month would help stabilize the impoverished nation and set it back on track, it looks as if Yemen has yet some roadblocks to get out of the way before turning the page on its troubled past.

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