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Yemenis align with army after al-Qaeda attacks

THE LEVANT – By Abu Bakr Al Yamany – The Yemeni street is rallying around the army in its fight against al-Qaeda in the wake of the group’s brutal attacks which are affecting both lives and livelihoods, officials said.

Horrified and panicked by al-Qaeda’s crimes, organisations and individuals in all echelons of society are supporting the army through new popular committees and awareness campaigns.

The Yemeni army recently intercepted a car bomb headed for a military checkpoint in al-Qatn directorate of Hadramaut province, killing 10 gunmen and losing three soldiers in the process.

In a statement posted on its 26Sep.net news portal, the Ministry of Defence said the gunmen had attacked a checkpoint at the entrance of Wadi Sirr in al-Qatn, but the 135th Brigade was able to destroy it before it could reach its target.

“The soldiers bravely intercepted and destroyed the car bomb before it could reach its target, and a gun battle ensued with the terrorist elements that resulted in the killing of 10 of them and wounding of several others,” the statement said.

“The armed forces will remain on high alert to deliver heavy blows to the elements of terrorism and evil wherever they may be and will not allow them to achieve their criminal goals and plans,” the statement added.

POPULAR COMMITTEES, AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS TO SUPPORT THE ARMY

“Al-Qaeda knows only the manufacture of unjustified death, destruction, devastation and murder […] and hence the brutal massacres it carries out against soldiers and others are condemned by Yemenis at all levels, public, partisan and official,” said National Centre for Strategic Studies head Fares al-Saqqaf, who serves as an adviser to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

“This targeting of soldiers at military checkpoints is added to the previous massacres committed against the innocent, including the massacre of patients and doctors at al-Ordhi hospital and the massacre of soldiers whom al-Qaeda abducted while they were traveling in civilian clothes aboard a bus to Sanaa in August,” he told Al-Shorfa.

“All of these actions were met with wide condemnation,” he said.

Individuals and organisations at all levels of society have “declared their solidarity with the army against al-Qaeda on account of the heinousness of the crime against the soldiers”, al-Saqqaf said.

Government entities, provincial governors, local councils, political parties and organisations, the Yemen Scholars Association and the media all strongly condemned the massacre, he said, which has resulted in “massive public alignment with the army in its battle against al-Qaeda”.

Al-Qaeda’s continued killings “have caused popular support [for the army] to manifest itself in the form of popular committees being established and awareness campaigns that are increasingly being conducted by civil society and the media to warn of the dangers of terrorism”, al-Saqqaf said.

‘HEINOUS AND UNJUSTIFIED CRIMES’

“No one condones the massacres of Muslims and people of other religions that al-Qaeda is committing,” Ministry of Endowments and Guidance assistant undersecretary Sheikh Hamoud al-Saidi told Al-Shorfa.

Such acts “are condemnable, for Islam views the killing of a soul, which is forbidden, as the worst of crimes, and anyone who kills a soul, it is as though he killed all of humanity, and anyone who saves a soul, it is as though he saved all of humanity”.

“The public and society in general have rallied around the army against al-Qaeda, which misunderstood the sharia texts,” al-Saidi said.

“The crimes that al-Qaeda commits against civilians and soldiers are heinous and unjustified,” political analyst Naif Haydan told Al-Shorfa.

The government and society “stand in one line against this threat that is hostile to all humanity”, he said.

The Yemeni security services and military have garnered widespread support for their “counter-terrorism efforts to eradicate this malicious scourge that is addicted to murder”, he added.

YEMENI STREET DENOUNCES AL-QAEDA

Government employee Mohammed Saleh told Al-Shorfa al-Qaeda’s crimes have “evoked horror and panic among all segments of society”.

“Al-Qaeda commits the crimes, videotapes them and disseminates the video clips via social media, and thus exhibits the heinousness of its actions and spreads fear and panic,” he said.

“These crimes are devoid of humanity due to their atrocious nature and the methods in which they are carried out against the innocent, not to mention their devastating economic consequences,” said Mohammed Abu Taleb, who has business interests in the construction and tourism sectors.

“Al-Qaeda’s crimes have inflicted heavy losses on the economy, and the tourism sector is the biggest loser as the terrorist attacks on innocent foreigners and Yemenis have completely decimated the tourism sector and shut down tourist facilities,” he said.

“Al-Qaeda’s victims who are killed and wounded are not the only ones targeted by these terrorist attacks, as the daily livelihoods of others are also targeted by al-Qaeda,” he added.

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