Yemeni Troops Retake Base from Al Qaeda
After days of fighting, Yemeni security forces have retaken a military headquarters seized by Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in in the Yemeni port city of Mukalla, according to reports.
Terrorists stormed the base on Sunday, killing at least two soldiers and taking many more hostage, including a senior army commander.
According to military sources, the base was taken after a suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into the entrance, clearing the way for four more vehicles packed with Islamist fighters, who were apparently disguised as Yemeni special forces.
Security forces quickly moved in, and besieged the captured base, triggering a bloody 3-day standoff. The two sides traded fire and terrorists used a combination of snipers and explosives to keep soldiers at bay.
At least 10 soldiers are believed to have been killed since the start of the standoff, according to the pan-Arab Al Arabiya.
Major General Mohsen Nasser told the Associated Press that all the terrorists were killed in the operation after refusing to surrender, in an operation which followed three hours of intense clashes.
Nasser claimed that the army had freed the hostages, but it was unclear how many of them, or if all were unharmed.
The Yemeni affiliate of Al Qaeda - Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) - is regarded as the most dangerous branch of the terrorist franchise by the US government, which has waged a campaign of targeted drone-strikes against its leadership. AQAP is responsible for a number of attempted terrorist attacks against US and other western targets - including plans to attack American interests in the Middle East and North Africa, which resulted in the closing of some two dozen US embassies throughout the region.
AQAP and its affiliates have managed to seize control of some territory in Yemen's southern badlands, and has waged a long insurgency against the army and government forces, which in turn have been fighting to retake areas under Islamist control.
On September 20, Al-Qaeda fighters killed at least 56 soldiers and police in coordinated dawn attacks in Shabwa province, in the deadliest attack on Yemeni forces since the government retook a number of towns from the group in a major operation last year.