Terrorism

Yemenis hail bravery of Hadramaut elite forces after al-Qaeda attack

By Abu Bakr al-Yamani in Sanaa

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Yemeni soldiers stand guard at the scene of a car bomb attack at an army checkpoint outside Hajr in Hadramaut province on July 18th, 2016. Hadramaut elite forces on June 12th thwarted an al-Qaeda attack on a military camp in the province.  [Abduljabbar Bajubair/AFP]

Yemeni officials praised the Hadramaut elite forces for their bravery in repelling a large-scale al-Qaeda attack on an army checkpoint near Camp Badha in Wadi Hadramaut’s Duaan district, but had harsh words for the perpetrators.

Groups of al-Qaeda elements tried to seize the camp at dawn on Monday (June 12th), using vehicles packed with explosives.

One member of the Hadramaut elite forces was killed while attempting to repel the attackers, and three others were wounded, officials told Al-Mashareq.

At least 13 al-Qaeda elements were killed during the incident, according to an earlier report, though al-Qaeda claimed it had lost only one fighter.

Hadramaut's local government issued a statement condemning al-Qaeda's "criminal" attack and praising the role of elite forces in repelling it.

"The elite forces have become a reassuring defence unit for Hadramaut province against the terrorist groups, and a striking force that does not fear death, but rather seeks martyrdom in order to defend the land and people of Hadramaut," the statement said.

"The elite forces are extremely vigilant and combat-ready, and their skills have surprised the evil elements whose only aim is to spark chaos and undermine the security of Hadramaut and the peace of its people," the statement added.

"The elite forces have proven that they now represent a fearful force for the enemies, and that they not only shoulder the responsibility of maintaining security in Hadramaut's cities, but also are fully prepared to confront the enemy in any conventional war and defend the land of Hadramaut and the dignity of its people," it said.

The elite forces are "determined to combat terrorism wherever it is, because terrorism has no religion or home", the statement added.

Security reinforcements

The people of Duaan are now reassured that the elite forces are capable of confronting the forces of terrorism, whether the perpetrators belong to al-Qaeda or other groups, Duaan mayor Ahmed Omar Bamaas told Al-Mashareq.

Religious scholars and members of the public from all walks of life have strongly condemned al-Qaeda's most recent attack.

"The final death toll of the attack was one elite forces member killed and three others wounded, while al-Qaeda said it has lost one element only, although the bodies of its fighters were scattered on the scene of the attack," Bamaas said.

"The people of Hadramaut expect such attacks, but they condemn them because they are against sharia and their peaceful nature, and citizens are concerned with construction and development and not terrorism and devastation," he said.

Since the attack, Bamaas said, military reinforcements have arrived from the provincial capital of al-Mukalla, and there is now heavy security presence at checkpoints and entrances of Duaan.

Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments and Guidance Sheikh Jabri Ibrahim condemned criminal acts that target innocent people.

"I also condemn these acts as they are carried out in the name of Islam although Islam has nothing to do with them or with their misguided ideology," he told Al-Mashareq.

"Islam is a religion of peace and love, not terrorism. Islam prohibits the killing of people, and has said that whoever kills a person, it is as though he has killed all mankind, and whoever saves a life, it is as though he has saved the lives of all men," he said.

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