Yemen launches anti-Al Qaeda offensive
Forces in Yemen launched an offensive against Al Qaeda on Wednesday.
Al Qaeda groups have recently seized villages in the south of Yemen, in the province of Hadramawt, according to AFP.
Yemeni state troops, with helicopter and tanks, launched a dawn offensive in Ghayl Bawazir, 30 kilometres east of the port of Mukalla, a security force told AFP.
According to AFP, witnesses reported military convoys travelling towards the area, which was siezed by forces loyal to the terrorist group last month.
A medical source said that seven soldiers and three civilians had been admitted to hospital.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is based in Yemen and is regarded to be the most dangerous of all the branches of the internationally notorious terrorist group. AQAP has bred some of the most militant jihadist thinkers in the organisation, such as Anwar Al Awlaki, who was killed by a US drone in Septeber 2011, and Qassam Al Rimi, who earlier this week published a video urging Muslims in America to perpetrate violent acts against their neighbours.
Over the last year in Yemen, Al Qaeda forces have had a significant presence in the country and have been regrouping since they were expelled from the southern Hadramawt area in summer 2012.
Witnesses told AFP that the jihadist fighters had taken the opportunity to scout out the area in the absence of state security forces, in order to re-conquer the area.
AQAP secured significant aims in 2011, when 11 months of protests against the central government resulted in its fall and the expulsion of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Militants came to power, and imposed a strict interpretation of Sharia law on the country.
Punishments included public executions and amputations, according to AFP.