Yemen: 36 Killed in Airstrikes Against Abyan Province

All Slain Termed 'Al-Qaeda Suspects' by Govt

Yemeni officials today confirmed launching a number of air strikes against the Abyan Province, killing at least 36 people, all of whom were termed “suspected al-Qaeda militants” in the province.

The bulk of the deaths came in and around Zinjibar, the provincial capital which the government lost control of in May, while six others were killed near Arkoub, near the site of a suicide attack over the weekend.

The Saleh government has been trying to retake the province for months, occasionally with ground offensives (like the June one that ended disastrously with over 100 soldiers slain) and regularly with air strikes by both Yemeni warplanes and US drones.

Yemeni officials also confirmed another eight of their own soldiers were killed on the ground in the province, bringing the two day toll from attacks by militants in the region to at least 18.

The loss of Abyan to a group calling itself Ansar al-Sharia has been the most highly publicized of the Yemeni regime’s troubles, but it is far from the only one. The Houthi secessionists in the north have taken a number of provinces, while tribesmen have made much of the interior of the nation a no-go area for regime loyalists.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.