A day after seizing the Mukalla airport and a military base on the outskirts, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken over a “massive weapons depot” in the city, securing a large quantity of arms.
The depot was one of the few things still being guarded by the Yemeni military in the southeastern city, which has been facing an AQAP offensive for a solid week. The troops were quickly routed, however, leaving AQAP with the depot.
Mukalla is far outside of AQAP’s usual stronghold in the southwest, but since the fighting has escalated between various factions in the Yemeni military, the Houthis, and the Saudi airstrikes, AQAP seems to be left more or less alone to expand its own possessions.
As the Saudis continue to escalate their war, it seems increasingly likely that AQAP will be the primary beneficiaries of the conflict, as it has distracted the Houthis, the only faction really resisting their expansion, and the Saudis seem to only be focused on Shi’ite factions, and not AQAP.