Hadramaut governor and 2nd Military District Commander Maj. Gen. Faraj al-Bahsani vowed a strong response and open war against al-Qaeda following a Friday (December 21st) evening terror attack that killed two civilians.
The attack, which occurred at the entrance to Hadramaut's al-Shahr directorate, left one child and one young man dead and wounded 45 others, the Security Media Centre reported.
Al-Qaeda elements first hurled a bomb at the entrance to al-Shahr directorate in al-Maht area. Twelve minutes later, as civilians began to gather at the scene, they blew up an improvised explosive device (IED).
"The terrorists who carried out that cowardly attack will not stop us from proceeding with our war against them," al-Bahsani said in a Sunday statement.
"We have vowed an open war against the terrorists until this scourge which spilled the blood of our innocent martyrs has been uprooted once and for all from Hadramaut," he said.
"We are confident and capable of defeating the terrorists anywhere, and we will continue to teach them a lesson," he added, referring to previous victories against al-Qaeda in Wadi al-Masini, Operation Black Mounts in Hadramaut, and Operation Iron Fist in Yabuth District.
Hadramaut renounces terrorism
"The people of Hadramaut renounce terrorism," al-Shahr mayor Amin Barziq told Al-Mashareq.
"We condemn the terrorist operations which al-Qaeda carries out against innocent people," he said, noting that the district has been stepping up efforts to steer young men away from extremist ideology at its schools and mosques.
"The terrorist groups are expanding their targeted areas in Hadramaut in order to intimidate people," he said. "In reality, however, they are stoking the hatred of the peaceful people of Hadramaut."
Al-Qaeda's ideology is alien to Yemeni society, said Hadramaut Coast's general director of religious endowments and guidance Sheikh Ahmed al-Saadi.
"It is a sick ideology that violates all human norms and monotheistic religions," he told Al-Mashareq.
As part of efforts to safeguard society against violence and extremism, guidance programmes and Friday sermons focus on the need to renounce extremist ideology, violence and terrorism, al-Saadi said.
Scholars and guides will step up these efforts in the coming days through seminars, sermons and field visits to schools, he said, and will "urge people to inform the security agencies about any suspicions as a civic duty".
Al-Qaeda's recent attack indicates it has become desperate, he said.
"The group just wants to say it still exists, although everybody knows about the many blows it has been dealt at the hands of Hadramaut elite forces," he said.
Attack shows al-Qaeda's malice
The attack in al-Shahr has angered all the people of Hadramaut due to its heinousness, Hadramaut media activist Fawzia ben Brek told Al-Mashareq.
"This attack shows the malice and meanness of al-Qaeda," she said, pointing out that the group chose to target unarmed civilians.
The group has been expelled from Hadramaut's coastal areas and cities, she added, noting that this "crushing defeat" is unacceptable to al-Qaeda.
"The group sustained losses after al-Mukalla and other cities were liberated in 2016," she explained. "With these losses, the terrorists lost a major financial resource, represented by the port revenues, trade in oil derivatives, theft from banks and seizure of billions of national and hard currencies."
"Therefore, they are now exacting their revenge against the Hadramaut elite forces which confronted and crushed them," she said. "They are also exacting revenge against the people."