Yemeni al-Qaeda Seizes Three Towns Near Southern Port of Aden

As Saudi Strikes Weaken Houthis, AQAP Fills the Hole

Saudi warplanes continue to pound Houthi forces around the southern port city of Aden. They have made much of weakening the Houthis in the area, allowing their allies to take over much of Aden itself, and predicting gains in the surrounding area. They’re not alone in taking advantage of the Saudi strikes, however.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is stepping up their own attacks in the area around Aden, seizing three towns, including Rabat, Lahourn, and Masaabin. They overran the remaining defenses and targeted local Shi’ites in those towns, insisting they were all in league with the Houthis.

The Houthis still control the vast majority of the country, while Aden itself is under the control of Saudi allies, including some ground troops from the United Arab Emirates who arrived earlier this week. AQAP controls these newly seized towns, and some portions of the tribal center of the country, as well as the city of Mukalla farther east along the shore.

The Saudis have made the war pretty overtly a sectarian one, courting Sunni Arab states to join the conflict against the Shi’ite Houthis, and so far they appear to be leaving AQAP entirely alone, allowing them to scoop up portions of the country for themselves in the chaos of war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of