Yemen launched air assault on militants in Aden. The overnight attack conducted by a swarm of helicopters killed about 17 al Qaeda militants. The country, in association with Saudi Arabia, is attempting to weaken the terrorist group’s hold over the region. However, the attack resulted in a number of civilian casualties, including a few members of the safety forces as well.
Air assaults on the southern port city of Aden in Yemen, resulted in the death of at least 17 al Qaeda militants. Saudi-led helicopters rained over the city in a persistent attempt to dislodge the al Qaeda militants from their current stronghold. The news about the death of about 18 to 20 people, including militants, was corroborated by medics and security officials deployed in the region.
The assault took place as Saudi-backed forces supporting President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fought to widen their control of Taiz in the southwest of Yemen after breaking a siege there on Friday, reported Daily News And Analysis. Incidentally, Islamist militants from al Qaeda and Islamic State have been steadily taking advantage of the conflict to expand their reign.
The groups have been quite active, exploiting the conflicts in regions where Hadi supporters have forcibly expelled the Iran-allied Houthis, including in Aden and Lahej provinces. Taking considerable advantage of the infighting, the terror groups have been able to make significant inroads and establish strongholds. Hence the Yemen government led by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, with assistance from Saudi Arabia, conducted airstrikes using Apache helicopters.
The helicopters attacked armored vehicles and a government compound used by the militants in al-Mansoura district, a stronghold in north Aden. The space has witnessed multiple assaults lately. Usually, the targets are native safety officers because the Saudi-led coalition retook Aden last July from the Iran-allied Houthi militia, reported All 10 Things. The sources who corroborated the news added that along with 17 militants, at least one civilian was killed. Apart from the casualties, reports indicate about 20 civilians and militants may have been wounded, including three members of the safety forces.
The overnight attack, which began late evening, was primarily aimed on militants who patrol the city, while sitting atop armored vehicles. Security forces had earlier managed to cordon-off an area of al-Mansoura district where dozens of suspected militants were suspected to be hiding. Thereafter, warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition even dropped leaflets from above. The single-page leaflet instructed residents to stay indoors. It also urged local population to stay alert about suspected militants and inform the authorities. Subsequent to the intimation, electricity supply was cut off and shops were ordered shut.
An eerie silence fell on the area, which was subsequently broken by the signature noise created by Apache helicopters. The whirring noise of the blades was followed by the sound of gunfire and blasts as the helicopters pounded the area with bombs and machine guns. Confirming the helicopter attack, the city’s governor said the operation was the second phase of a government campaign to restore state control over the city, the temporary seat of the Yemeni government, reported New York Times. Speaking about the attack Governor Aydaroos al-Zubaidi said the following.
“This stage will continue until it achieves its objectives, foremost of which to impose the authority of the state and restore security and stability in all districts of the capital Aden and its suburbs and to end the security chaos.”
Ever since Hadi’s forces captured the city from the Houthis last July, militants have seized every opportunity to attack and kill political leaders and government officials. Militants not only killed al-Zubaidi’s predecessor, but also murdered several other government officials, military, and security officers in a series of suicide attacks and shootings in Aden.
[Photo by Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images]