News / Middle East

    Al-Qaida: September Attack Targeted Joint Yemeni-US Drone Base

    Workers put up a billboard urging citizens to cooperate with security authorities in Sana'a, Yemen, September 30, 2013, the day of the suspected al-Qaida attack on an army base in the eastern city of al-Mukalla.
    Workers put up a billboard urging citizens to cooperate with security authorities in Sana'a, Yemen, September 30, 2013, the day of the suspected al-Qaida attack on an army base in the eastern city of al-Mukalla.
    Reuters
    The Yemen-based branch of al-Qaida said on Monday that its attack on a Yemeni army base last month targeted an operations room used by the United States to direct drone strikes against militants, and threatened more such assaults.

    Dozens of militants stormed and captured the headquarters of the Yemeni army's Second Division in the eastern city of al-Mukalla on September 30 and took some military personnel hostage. Military officials said four Yemeni soldiers were killed and nine wounded in a counter-strike to retake the base.

    Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is regarded by the United States as one of the most active wings of the diffuse international jihadi network, posing a serious threat to Western interests including nearby sea lanes plied by oil tankers.

    AQAP said Yemen had turned a number of its military facilities in recent years into “intelligence and operations rooms to direct the war against the Mujahideen (holy fighters) and operate pilotless planes.”

    ”The Mujahideen have directed a harsh blow to one of these headquarters,” it said in a message posted on Shumukh al-Islam, an Islamist website, referring to the Sept. 30 attack.

    ”Such joint security targets, which participate with the Americans in their war on the Muslim people, are a legitimate target for our operations, and we will puncture these eyes that the enemy uses.”

    It said that dozens of officers were killed in the three-day assault and the operations room was destroyed. AQAP made no mention of any Americans present in the facility and there were no reports of foreigners killed in the attack.

    The authenticity of the statement could not immediately be verified.

    Drones as weapon of choice

    The United States regularly stages drone strikes to hunt down al-Qaida militants in a campaign that has been criticized by rights groups as tantamount to carrying out executions without trial, with civilians often being hit.

    Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has angered many compatriots by giving unequivocal support for drone operations, which have increased since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Hadi has also asked Washington to supply drones to the Yemeni armed forces.

    The Yemeni army, with U.S. backing, last year drove al-Qaida militants and their allies from some of their south Yemen strongholds. But the jihadists have since regrouped and mounted attacks on government officials and installations.

    Militants took advantage of political chaos in Yemen during the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 to seize control of some towns and their hinterland in the south of the Arabian Peninsula state.

    They were subsequently beaten back by Yemeni armed forces, with assistance from the United States, and dispersed into smaller groups spread across the south.

    But they have since carried out a series of attacks on important military and civilian targets, killing hundreds of soldiers and some senior officers, including Major General Salem Qatan, commander of the Yemeni army in southern Yemen.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora