Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), traditionally centered around the southwest of Yemen, has today captured a major army base in Mukalla, along the country’s southeast coast, securing them a large weapons stockpile and a foothold in that region.
AQAP began attacking Mukalla yesterday, with an eye on a major prison break, in which they freed over 300 prisoners. Since then, they’ve apparently decided to take the city and the base as well.
AQAP now holds much of the city, while what remains of the military force had fled to the airport, apparently hoping for evacuation. In the comparatively desolate southeast, control over this one city could mean control of the entire region.
AQAP had been struggling to hold its own with the Shi’ite Houthis, though with Saudi Arabia declaring war on the later, AQAP appears to be taking advantage and expanding its own territory substantially.