Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) elements planted explosives on the side of a main road in Abyan province's al-Mahfad district to target Security Belt Forces on Thursday (April 4th), but the attack failed, a local official told Al-Mashareq.
The improvised explosive device (IED) would have targeted the commander of the Security Belt Forces camp in al-Mahfad, Mohammed al-Kadash, as his convoy passed through the area, the Security Belt operations said in a statement.
But the IED exploded before the military convoy had reached it, it said.
Al-Qaeda elements sought to target al-Kadash, who was not part of the convoy, because of his efforts in clearing the province of the terror group, al-Mahfad mayor Ahmed al-Rabie told Al-Mashareq.
They recently also targeted al-Kadash's brother, Ahmed al-Kadash, the commander of the Security Belt Forces' rapid response unit, he said.
The February 13th attack using an IED led to the killing of three soldiers, including Ahmed, while two others were injured.
As a response, the Security Belt Forces carried out a military operation later that day targeting the mountains surrounding the area from which the al-Qaeda attack against them was launched.
The clashes that ensued lasted for several hours and killed eight al-Qaeda elements.
Al-Qaeda elements "seek to take revenge against the Security Belt commanders who led operations against them in Abyan province, with a special focus on al-Mahfad district as it was the group's stronghold for years", al-Rabie said.
The group has been using IEDs to target commanders rather than initiating military confrontations, "which reflects the state of weakness it has reached", he added.