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Senior Qaeda member killed in Yemen

Abu Islam al-Shaishani was killed after the Yemeni army launched since Tuesday an offensive against suspected al-Qaeda hideouts

Published: Updated:

Abu Islam al-Shaishani, a Chechnian fighter with a senior role in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed Saturday in Yemen as the country’s forces continue battling the jihadist group.

Yemen’s state news agency reported that one of those killed in an early stage of the offensive against AQAP was al-Shaishani.

Yemeni forces, backed by air force jets and allied militias, have been fighting Islamists in the new offensive since Tuesday, mainly in the south where the militants are strongly rooted.

Also, a suicide car bomber on Saturday attacked a security intelligence post in southeastern Yemen wounding two military guards, an official said, blaming al-Qaeda of responsibility.

The bomb-laden vehicle exploded at the entrance of the post in a residential neighborhood of Mukalla, the provincial capital of Hadramawt, causing damage to it and other buildings, said the security official.

Guards had opened fire on the car driven by an “al-Qaeda suicide bomber” as it approached the entrance, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen shot dead colonel Sanad Badr in his car in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden late on Friday.

AQAP is regarded by the United States as the global jihadist network’s most dangerous franchise and has been subjected to an intensifying drone war this year.

On Friday, senior AQAP member Qassem al-Rimi threatened in an online video to strike back at any party involved in the drone campaign that has killed dozens of suspected jihadists.

The attacks follow dozens of others directed at security targets in the U.S. ally in recent months, killing hundreds, and come as the army is conducting a big operation against Islamist militants in the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan.

Western countries fear further destabilization in Yemen could give more space to AQAP to plot attacks on international targets.

AQAP and its local ally, Ansar al-Sharia, have been waging an insurgency in southern Yemen for more than three years, battling both government forces and local tribal militias.

(With Reuters and AFP)