Pro-government forces, Al Qaeda clash in Yemen

Aden, March 13 (IANS) Fierce clashes erupted between pro-government forces and Al Qaeda members in Yemen’s temporary capital Aden on Saturday evening, a security official said.

The pro-government forces, backed by armoured vehicles and apaches of the Saudi-led coalition, launched an offensive to kick Al Qaeda members out of Aden district of Mansourah and surrounding areas, the local security official said on condition of anonymity, Xinhua reported.

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The Al Qaeda members mobilised their fighters and deployed snipers around Mansourah’s entrances to confront the anti-terror military operation, the source said.

Warplanes of the Saudi-led Arab coalition participated in the campaign and pounded the local council compound which was controlled by Al Qaeda, local residents said.

According to Aden residents, fighter jets heavily hovered over the sky, breaking sound barriers while fierce fighting is still going on with loud explosions ranging out in Mansourah.

Medical sources said that several people were killed or injured from both sides during Saturday’s armed skirmishes in Aden.

Extremists of the Al Qaeda and the Yemen-based affiliate of the Islamic State group have strong preference and influence in Aden district of Mansourah.

The port city of Aden, Yemen’s temporary capital, has been witnessing a state of chaos and lawlessness during past weeks, which resulted in the assassination of Aden’s former governor, several high-ranking security officers and judges.

The turbulent and complicated security situation in Aden and neighbouring southern provinces of Lahj and Abyan is one of the biggest challenges for the Saudi-led Arab coalition forces operating in Aden.

The coalition has dispatched thousands of soldiers from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sudan and Bahrain into five anti-Houthi southern provinces to support and train local Yemeni security forces there.

Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional Al Qaeda insurgencies in the Middle East and the affiliate of the Islamic State.

The security situation in the country has deteriorated since March 2015 when war broke out between Shia Houthi group, supported by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullash Saleh, and the government, backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.

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