At least 11 people died overnight Sunday after two suicide bombers targeted the Al Qaeda terrorist stronghold of southern Yemen, according to the AFP news agency.
The head of the Ashal tribe, Sheikh Abu Bahr Ashal, was killed instantly along with at least one companion in the village of Moudia, east of Zinjibar. A second companion subsequently died of his wounds in a hospital, according to a tribal representative. A medical source confirmed the deaths.
A second suicide terrorist drove a massive car bomb into an outpost of armed tribesmen near the village of Arkub, near Shaqra, seized last week by militants. Eight people were killed and 20 others were wounded in the attack, which was immediately followed by mortar fire. The battle between tribesmen and Partisans of Shari'a militants lasted nearly two hours, according to the pro-government tribal source who spoke with AFP.
The Partisans of Shari'a are believed to have ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the local global jihadist network that operates in most of the southern and eastern provinces. For weeks, Yemeni tribesmen have been battling militant forces in the southern Abyan province, where Al Qaeda maintains its stronghold.
The battle has continued for months as the region disintegrates into its original tribalism with tribal factions fighting militant forces backed by the Al Qaeda international terrorist organization.The central government is struggling to hold on to power in Sana'a until President Ali Abdullah Saleh returns to the capital. Saleh, seriously wounded in an attack on his compound in early June, has been recovering in a Saudi Arabian hospital.
Yemeni government sources claimed that Saleh is scheduled to return to Sana'a on Wednesday, August 24, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the ruling party, the General People's Congress (GPC). Saleh will allegedly resume negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council for a transfer of power at that time, the spokesman said.