Yemen, Arab coalition forces target al-Qaeda in Abyan

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Yemeni government forces walk in Zinjibar on August 16th, 2016 after they entered the capital of the southern Abyan province following an offensive backed by coalition-led airstrikes to recapture the city from al-Qaeda. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

The UAE-backed Security Belt Forces, along with Arab coalition warplanes, carried out a co-ordinated military operation against al-Qaeda targets in southern Yemen's Abyan province Tuesday (January 15th), officials and residents told Al-Mashareq.

Security Belt Forces attacked al-Qaeda positions in Wadi Umiran in north-eastern Modiya district early Tuesday, and clashed with the group's elements, killing at least seven of them, including a field commander, local media reported.

Several soldiers were wounded in the operation.

Hours later, Arab Coalition warplanes launched airstrikes targeting al-Qaeda positions in Modiya and killed a number of militants.

"Security Belt Forces and coalition warplanes launched attacks against al-Qaeda in Wadi Umiran in Modiya where the group has a strong presence," Abyan deputy governor Abdul Aziz al-Hamza told Al-Mashareq.

The UAE-backed forces carried out their attack in the morning, "while coalition warplanes launched intensive airstrikes later in the day to cleanse those areas", he said.

"A number of al-Qaeda elements were killed, several were wounded and others fled the area," he said.

"We heard the sound of explosions resulting from airstrikes on areas that are supposedly controlled by al-Qaeda," Ahmed Salem, a resident of Modiya, told Al-Mashareq.

"Security Belt Forces are trying to clear the district of al-Qaeda elements who occasionally attempt to blow up military checkpoints where the forces are stationed," he said.

Al-Qaeda elements on January 5th attacked a Security Belt Forces checkpoint in Modiya, killing two soldiers.

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