Yemen: Al-Qaeda Ambush Kills 17 Soldiers, General

Soldiers Were Guarding Key Oil Pipeline

by Jason Ditz, December 10, 2012

One of the deadliest single attacks in months took place in Yemen’s Maarib Province over the weekend, with an army patrol guarding the key oil pipeline in the province ambushed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The attack killed 17 people, including soldiers and Major General Nasser Farid, the chief of staff for central Yemeni military operations. The pipeline remains under repair after coming under repeated attack in the past several months.

Officials said that the air strikes over the past two days against Maarib were retaliation for the ambush, but while they reported four people killed in the strikes, there was no indication of who they actually were.

Oil pipeline security has been an ongoing problem for Yemen, not just with AQAP but with local tribal leaders, who have regularly turned to strikes on the pipeline when talks with the central government have turned sour.

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