Scores Killed as Al-Qaeda Attacks South Yemen Separatists

Ambushes reported in Abyan Province

Al-Qaeda forces attacked targets in south Yemen’s Abyan Province, leading to multiple fights against the Southern Transitional Council, a separatist movement.

At least 20 STC fighters were reported killed, while “all attackers” were also claimed slain, which was six al-Qaeda fighters. The attacks saw them ambushing checkpoints set up as anti-terror operations. A senior commander was killed in the checkpoint attack.

Al-Qaeda is keen to hit any target in this part of Yemen as an opportunity of attack. Abyan Province was, not so long ago, their main base of operations.

The attacks will raise new questions on whether al-Qaeda is attacking Saudi Arabia’s enemies in this area. That’s not entirely improbable, as al-Qaeda’s role in the Yemen War has almost wholly been attacking Saudi rivals.

In the lead-up to the Yemen War, al-Qaeda and Wahhabists fought the Shi’ites in northern Yemen, which eventually formed into the Houthi movement to defend themselves.

As this led to a full war, quite often al-Qaeda served as an auxiliary fighting force for the Yemen and Saudi militaries, with groups securing military supplies to keep fighting.

The STC has been very successful in fighting off pro-Saudi fighters. The group may find itself a main enemy of al-Qaeda as time goes on.

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.