The Pentagon is providing military support, intelligence, ships and special operations forces to help in the ongoing operations against al-Qaida militants in Yemen, U.S. officials said Thursday. The U.S. military is helping Yemeni, Emirati and Arab Coalition forces that are battling al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and were recently able to retake the port city of Mukalla from AQAP control. A senior U.S. official said that American special operations forces are advising the Yemeni and Emirati forces in the region, and that they are working at the headquarters level and are not near the conflict. The official was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. is providing "limited support" to the Arab Coalition and Yemeni operations in and around Mukalla.
ADEN – U.S. military planes killed dozens of fighters at an al-Qaida affiliate's training camp in a mountainous region of Yemen, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The raids came almost one year since the Saudi-led Arab coalition launched its bombing campaign against Iran-backed Shiite rebels who challenged the authority of the Yemeni government and seized much of the country. Yemeni government and tribal officials had earlier said Saudi-led airstrikes killed or wounded dozens at a training camp in Hajr, west of Hadramawt's provincial capital Mukalla. The early morning raid at a camp used by "more than 70? al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula fighters "deals a blow to AQAP's ability to use Yemen as a base for attacks that threaten U.S. persons," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement. "We continue to assess the results of the operation, but our initial assessment is that dozens of AQAP fighters have been removed from the battlefield," Cook said.
ADEN, YEMEN – A suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State group and a second attack killed 37 police on Sunday in the Yemeni port of Mukalla where a year of al-Qaida rule was ended just last month, medics said. It was the second attack in days claimed by the Islamic State in the city of 200,000 people which was recaptured by government forces from the rival jihadis of al-Qaida with U.S. backing. The suicide bomber killed at least 31 police recruits on the southwestern outskirts of the city, which is the capital of Hadramawt province, medics said. The bomber detonated an explosives belt as he joined a line of men at a police recruitment center, a provincial official said. More than 60 people were also wounded in the attack in Fuwah district, a medical source said.
ATAQ, Yemen – Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West. Here's what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot. That's because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself. These compromises and alliances have allowed al-Qaida militants to survive to fight another day -- and risk strengthening the most dangerous branch of the terror network that carried out the 9/11 attacks. Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes.
Yemeni government troops newly-trained by a Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Shiite rebels routed al-Qaida militants on Friday from a city in the country's south, military officials said. Houta, the capital of Lahj province, is now firmly under government control, the officials said. The coalition-trained troops, which are loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized government, were based in the southern Al-Anad base from where they launched the fight to retake the provincial capital, they added. The officials said the militants fled on Friday from Houta to nearby towns and farmland. The assault came at a time the coalition helicopters and U.S. drones have waged series of airstrikes targeting al-Qaida hideouts and strongholds across Yemen's southern region.