By Cody Curran, James Gallagher, Courtney Hughes, Paul Jarvis, Adam Kahan, Patrick Knapp, Matthew Lu
December 15, 2011
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has conducted numerous attacks throughout Yemen, with the highest concentration of attacks occurring in the southern governorates. AQAP’s campaign of violence reached the level of an active insurgency in June 2010. Most of AQAP’s targets in Yemen appear to be government targets, with a particular focus on the state’s intelligence and security apparatuses.
Identifying the group responsible for attacks in Yemen – especially in southern Yemen – can be an extremely difficult task, as the government in Yemen is quick to attribute most attacks to AQAP, even without corroborating evidence. The reality, however, is that several groups exist with the capacity to execute small scale attacks in the country. Most notably in southern Yemen, there is a secessionist movement – known as the Southern Movement – that is generally peaceful, but does have violent elements associated with it. The Yemeni government has made attempts to conflate the Southern Movement with AQAP, but, at this point there appears to be little, if any, operational cooperation between the two entities, despite their shared enemy and common geographic location.
The Critical Threats Project has produced this tracker to provide information on al Qaeda’s continued insurgency in Yemen. The tracker includes both attacks for which AQAP has taken credit and incidents attributed to AQAP by the government.
This tracker will be updated with new developments. The Critical Threats Project is tracking al Qaeda’s advances in south Yemen during the recent unrest in its Yemen situation reports.
DECEMBER 9, 2011: A tribal source reported that unidentified gunmen attacked an oil pipeline using rocket-propelled grenades in Aslan region in Shabwah governorate on December 9. The pipeline connects the oil pipelines in Ma’rib governorate to oil export facilities on the Red Sea. AQAP is suspected to be responsible for the attack, according to a local government official.
NOVEMBER 30, 2011: A security official reported that gunmen opened fire on a police vehicle in Khormaksar district in Aden. Two soldiers were killed in the reported assassination attempt of a police commander. Government officials reported that al Qaeda is suspected to be responsible for the attack.
NOVEMBER 21, 2011: An improvised explosive device (IED) blast killed two tribesmen and wounded five others in Mudia in Abyan governorate on November 21. Al Qaeda-linked militants are reportedly responsible for the attack. The attack was reportedly in response to the killing of six al Qaeda-linked militants by security forces. Read the rest of this entry »
Yemen: Clashes in Sana’a between the Republican Guard and Hashid tribesmen kill one civilian and injure three others; three al Shabaab militants and six al Qaeda-linked militants reportedly killed by airstrike in Abyan governorate
Horn of Africa: KDF and TFG troops kill 10 al Shabaab militants in Lower Jubba region; Kenyan air raid targets villages in Gedo region in southern Somalia; suspected Somali pirates hijack Italian cargo ship with a crew of 18 off Gulf of Oman
Yemen Security Brief
- Witnesses reported that clashes between the Republican Guard and gunmen loyal to Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar broke out in Sana’a near the interior ministry in Amran Street in Hasaba neighborhood. One Yemeni civilian was killed and three more were injured. The incident took place when the military commission attempted to remove barriers.
- Suna Times reported that three al Shabaab militants and six al Qaeda-linked militants were killed by an airstrike in Abyan governorate. The Somali consul in Yemen, Hussein Haji Ahmed, confirmed the report.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali government officials reported that at least 10 al Shabaab militants were killed by Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops in Lower Jubba region in southern Somalia. Witnesses stated that the attack started when al Shabaab militants launched an offensive on a joint KDF-TFG military base in Burgabo in southern Somalia. Read the rest of this entry »
By Janelle Lawrence and Don Jeffrey –
Mehanna, 29, who earned a doctorate from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Science, was found guilty on all counts against him, including making false statements, conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to kill in a foreign country.
Mehanna became an operative for al-Qaeda after traveling to Yemen in 2004 for terrorist training, prosecutors told the jury at the beginning of the trial before U.S. District Judge George O’Toole in October.
The defendant translated materials for terrorists from Arabic to English, including an Al-Qaeda manual called “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad,” or holy war, according to prosecutors. They also said he lied to government agents about his reasons for going to Yemen. He wasn’t charged with planning or trying to carry out any terrorist attacks.
Mehanna was arrested at his home in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in October 2009 and pleaded not guilty in November 2009.
Mall Plot Abandoned
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Mehanna and a friend, Ahmed Abousamra, who met at a local mosque when they were boys, discussed a plot to shoot shoppers at a mall, abandoning the plan when they couldn’t get weapons. Mehanna isn’t charged in connection with that alleged plot. Abousamra is a fugitive. Read the rest of this entry »
Mehanna was arrested in 2009 and charged with “providing and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.” He was also charged with conspiracy to kill in a foreign country and lying to law enforcement officers.
Prosecutors said the defendant answered a call to action from Osama bin Laden to battle U.S. soldiers.
They said he traveled to Yemen in 2004 to seek terrorism training, but never received it, and had planned to travel to Iraq to fight U.S. troops.
They also said he translated videos and texts from Arabic to English and distributed them online to further al Qaeda’s cause.
Defense attorneys said Mehanna, a U.S. citizen, was merely trying to learn more about his Muslim heritage by studying Islamic law and translating classical texts. He traveled to Yemen to visit schools where he hoped to study, they said. Read the rest of this entry »
Local armed opposition groups in Yemen, including the al Houthi rebels in the north and al Qaeda militants in the south, continue to contest the power of the central Yemeni state. Further, violence against protesters is ongoing in Taiz.
Al Houthi rebels and Salafist fighters continue to clash in Damaj in Sa’ada governorate. A Salafist spokesman, Abu Ismail, reported that al Houthis attacked early in the morning. At least 26 people were injured in the latest round of fighting. President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son and commander of the Republican Guard forces, Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, issued directives to end the armed conflict in Sa’ada. Read the rest of this entry »
Fighting between al Qaeda-linked militants and the Yemeni army is ongoing in Abyan governorate. Five al Qaeda-linked militants were killed and three others injured by Yemeni army shelling in al Kod near Zinjibar. One of the militants was Saudi Nayef al Qahtani, allegedly a senior member of Ansar al Sharia (Supporters of Islamic Law). At least three other militants, two of whom were Somali, were killed in clashes with Yemeni army troops and allied tribesmen in al Tariyya village, northeast of Zinjibar.
Clashes continue between Yemeni troops and opposition tribesmen north of Sana’a. Yemeni troops shelled positions held by opposition tribesmen in Arhab district, killing two tribesmen. Tribal sources reported that the shelling injured a number of civilians. Read the rest of this entry »
A violent crackdown on protesters in Taiz, even as the Yemeni regime resumes negotiations for a transfer of power, may drive Yemen further toward broader armed conflict. Yemen’s prolonged unrest may also help unify the factionalized Southern Movement, which calls for secession from the north.
Violence in Taiz flared over the past two days. Shelling in Taiz killed fifteen people and injured dozens more. The shelling has focused on al Rawda and Zeid al Mushky neighborhoods in Taiz. Security forces also began operations in Freedom Square. Witnesses reported that fighting, sparked Thursday by the death of a loyalist soldier, occurred in six different areas in the city. Opposition tribesmen claimed to have injured four loyalist soldiers during the fighting; Yemen’s defense ministry reported that two soldiers were killed. Loyalist troops are positioned inside al Thawra (Revolution) Hospital and have set up at least 22 checkpoints along the main roads in Taiz. Reports also indicate that tanks and armored vehicles re-entered the city after leaving Wednesday.
Al Qaeda-linked militants publicly lashed five youths in Jaar in Abyan governorate. The youths, who each received 80 lashes, had been accused of taking drugs. Six al Qaeda-linked militants died in clashes between the militants and Yemeni army troops in Zinjibar, south of Jaar, according to a government official. Read the rest of this entry »
Publication: Volume: 0 Issue: 0
March 1, 2011 05:51 PM
By: Michael Horton
On February 28, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Salih announced his offer to form a national unity government that would be composed of members from all of Yemen’s opposition parties. The offer was quickly rejected by most members of the coalition of opposition parties, the Joint Meeting Party (JMP), and by the anti-government protesters that are demonstrating throughout Yemen (Mareb Press, February 28). On the same day, Yemeni cleric Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, the head of Yemen’s Society of Religious Scholars and an influential Read the rest of this entry »
January 13, 2010 10:38 p.m. EST
A general view of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Wednesday.
Concerns raised over info that al Qaeda already adapting to new measures, official says
United States has some information about time frame of threat, one source says