Somalia's Shabaab pledges to help Yemen’s Qaeda
Yemeni forces clash with rebels, kill 11
Somalia's hard-line Shabaab insurgents Friday said they will send fighters to Yemen to help al-Qaeda there in its fight against government forces, as the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh appealed for reason from those who joined the terror network.
Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour, a senior official of the Shabaab militia that pledges allegiance to al-Qaeda, announced the plan as he presented hundreds of newly-trained fighters in the north of Mogadishu.
"We tell our Muslim brothers in Yemen that we will cross the water between us and reach your place to assist you fight the enemy of Allah," said Robow, to chants of "Allahu Akbar", or Allah is great, by the young fighters.
"Today you see what is happening in Yemen, the enemy of Allah is destroying your Muslim brothers," he added.
"I call upon the young men in Arab lands to join the fight there."
Yemeni forces have been battling al-Qaeda militants in the country and last month launched raids on suspected targets in the central and the Sanaa regions, killing more than 60 of them.
We tell our Muslim brothers in Yemen that we will cross the water between us and reach your place to assist you fight the enemy of Allah
Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour
Yemeni forces meanwhile clashed with Shiite rebels, killing 11 in a country where Washington and Riyadh fear al-Qaeda may be gaining a stronger foothold, and Yemen's president reiterated a call to rebels to end the violence.
"Eleven terrorists were killed and others were wounded in widespread combing operations and strikes by military and security units on Thursday against gatherings of Houthi terrorists in a number of areas," a government source told Reuters on Friday.
The 26 September news website, quoting an unnamed source, said Yemeni forces had destroyed a "terrorist den" in the northern Saada region on Thursday.
Rebels from the minority Shiite Zaidi sect in northern Yemen rebelled against the government in 2004, complaining of marginalization.
The conflict, which has killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands, drew in neighboring Saudi Arabia in November when rebels staged a cross-border incursion into the world's biggest oil exporter.
Yemen, also facing separatist sentiment in the south, was thrown into focus after the failed attempt to bomb the U.S. passenger plane on Christmas Day.
Thursday's strikes destroyed a group of rebel vehicles near the town of Saada, and flames were seen rising from the area, the website said. A car carrying ammunition was destroyed.
The time has come to lay down your weapons, to steer clear of the violence and the terror and evil acts so as to save your souls and be good citizens in your society
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a New Year message published in a government newspaper, called on northern rebels and southern separatists to abandon violence and urged anyone tempted by al-Qaeda to reconsider.
"The time has come to lay down your weapons, to steer clear of the violence and the terror and evil acts so as to save your souls and be good citizens in your society," Saleh wrote in al-Thawra.
He also called again on northern rebels to accept a ceasefire, release prisoners, return stolen civilian and military materials and agree to stop attacks on Saudi territory.