ADEN, Yemen (Rahnuma): Yemeni government forces backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched a military operation against al-Qaida hideout in the southeastern province of Shabwa on Friday, sparking fierce armed confrontations in the area, a security official told Xinhua.
The UAE-backed Yemeni troops attacked the al-Qaida-held area of Markhah in Shabwa, and engaged in fierce armed confrontations with scores of gunmen who refused to surrender peacefully, the local security source said on condition of anonymity.
The armed confrontations that lasted for several hours ended up in the killing of seven al-Qaida members and three soldiers including an officer, the source said.
Helicopters belonging to the UAE-backed Yemeni troops participated in the operation and destroyed three al-Qaida’s vehicles, motorcycles together with weapons and ammunition in the same area.
Local tribal chiefs intervened and organized a mediation and succeeded in ceasing the armed confrontations between the government forces and al-Qaida gunmen.
The UAE-backed Yemeni troops withdrew and took positions in neighboring areas after facing strong resistance from scores of al-Qaida gunmen in Markhah district, according to the local sources.
The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) network mostly operating in eastern and southern provinces, has been responsible for many high-profile attacks against security forces in the country.
Provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, former main strongholds of AQAP, have been also the scene of sporadic attacks or heavy clashes between UAE-backed security forces and al-Qaida militants from time to time.
The AQAP, seen by the United States as the global terror network’s most dangerous branch, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in southeastern provinces.