15 troops loyal to the pro-Saudi faction in Yemen were killed today and 30 others were wounded in a pair of ISIS attacks against manned checkpoints in the Hadramawt Province in eastern Yemen. Officials claimed 15 ISIS fighters were also killed.
The attacks were synchronized across the province, Yemen’s largest. Officials initially blamed al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), who controls much of the province’s south, including the capital city of al-Mukalla along the coast.
But ISIS ultimately stepped up and claimed credit for the attacks, suggesting they too are growing in this area. Previously, most of the ISIS attacks across Yemen have focused on major cities, and chiefly the capital city of Sanaa, where Shi’ite mosques have been regularly bombed.
So far the ISIS affiliate in Yemen is not reported to have any major territory of its own, but with AQAP holding a lot of largely empty desert area in Hadramawt their rivals can likely set up shop in the area with relatively little fear of coming into direct conflict with them, and use it as a staging area for attacks against the other factions.