Operation targets al-Qaeda holdouts in Yemen's Hadramaut

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Yemeni fighters loyal to the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi ride in a truck with mounted heavy machine gun while closing in on a suspected location of an al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader during an offensive in Hadramaut's Masini Valley on February 21st. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

The 2nd Military District's elite forces on Saturday (April 28th) began to deploy in north-west Hadramaut province to secure the area against al-Qaeda elements as part of the newly launched Operation Black Mounts.

The elite force "recaptured positions on some roads, which al-Qaeda had set up to terrorise citizens and show it has a presence in those areas", 2nd Military District spokesman Hesham al-Jabri said in a statement.

"All the roads leading to Hadramaut province from the north and west have been secured, and the Hadramaut elite forces have taken positions at the most important entrances and exits in north-western Hadramaut," he said.

The 2nd Military District on Saturday announced the launch of Operation Black Mounts to rout al-Qaeda elements from northern Hadramaut, including al-Haisar, Qarat al-Fors, al-Dhalia and Labna.

The operation is being conducted with aerial support from the Arab coalition.

"After Operation al-Faisal, carried out by the elite forces in Wadi al-Masini on February 17th, succeeded in clearing the area, which the terrorist elements used as hideouts due to its rough terrain, some terrorists escaped and started to think about regrouping in northern Hadramaut," al-Jabri told Al-Mashareq.

"Intelligence confirmed that as a result of previous crackdowns, some terrorists tried to re-position and re-group in northern Hadramaut to use it as a base for launching operations to terrorise citizens in those areas," he said.

"Army forces deployed to those areas, and set up checkpoints at the entrances and exits there to secure them against the return of terrorists," he said.

Integrated military-intelligence efforts

"The aerial support provided by the Arab coalition warplanes has facilitated the mission of military forces in northern Hadramaut," al-Jabri said.

The integration of intelligence efforts and the support provided by Arab coalition warplanes has led to fruitful results in the arena of counter-terrorism, political analyst Adnan al-Humairi told Al-Mashareq.

"The intelligence efforts revealed al-Qaeda's plans to re-position and re-group," he said.

"The army's morale is very high, as Hadramaut celebrated the 2nd anniversary of the liberation of al-Mukalla from al-Qaeda elements on April 24th," he said.

"The successive blows which al-Qaeda had been dealt in Hadramaut have denied the group the elements of strength it once enjoyed," he added.

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