October 23, 2016

US Counterterror Strikes in Yemen Kill 13 Al-Qaeda Operatives

The US has killed 13 al-Qaeda operatives in counterterrorism strikes in Yemen. The strikes were made between August 24 and September 4, as the US heightened its strategy of ousting the terror group from the country.

All three of the strikes against the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula targets were conducted in central Yemen’s Shabwah Governorate, US Central Command said in a statement on Tuesday. It did not specify how the strikes were carried out or give the identities of those killed.

Al-Qaeda terror cells based in Yemen have been responsible for plotting numerous attacks against the West.

Clashes between Yemen’s government loyalist troops and Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels over control of an oil-rich region in Yemen killed 10 soldiers and 16 rebels last week.

Yemen has been the site of a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran after the Houthi rebels forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s neighbor to the north. The Shiite Houthis are allied with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional archrival. The international community recognizes Hadi as Yemen’s legitimate leader.

Fighter in the eastern province of Marib
Fighter in the eastern province of Marib

Since March 2015, the Houthi rebels and loyalists to Hadi have been fighting a civil war in Yemen, and forces in a Saudi-led Arab coalition are trying to restore Hadi to power.

Arms deals

Meanwhile, Brazilian prosecutors said on Tuesday they had charged Forjas Taurus – Latin America’s largest gunmaker – in May for allegedly dealing with a known Yemeni arms trafficker in violation of international sanctions. Prosecutors in the southern city of Porto Alegre said a judge had opened a confidential case against the company.

Two former executives have been charged over the deal that allegedly sent arms to Yemen’s civil war, but the company said it was only a concerned party in the case.

Human rights groups have claimed British-made munitions were responsible for the rising civilian death toll in Yemen’s brutal civil war.

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson rejected claims British arms exports have been used against civilians in Saudi air strikes and insisted the UK will go on selling weapons to Riyadh.

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