Yemen thwarts Al Qaeda attack in Mukalla
MUKALLA, YEMEN // Yemeni authorities foiled a terrorist attack by Al Qaeda that targeted the local administrative headquarters in Mukalla, said a Yemeni commander on Thursday.
A car laden with 15 high-explosive bombs was discovered before an Al Qaeda operative could carry out the attack, according to Gen Faraj Salmin, who commands Yemen’s Second Military Zone in the eastern province of Hadramaut.
“We received intelligence about Al Qaeda’s plans to launch a major terrorist attack in Al Mukalla aimed at destabilising the city and creating panic amongst its residents,” said Gen Salmin.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) largely withdrew from Mukalla in April when government and Emirati soldiers seized the city that had been used by the extremists to amass a fortune amid the chaos of civil war.
Gen Faraj Salmin said the foiled attack was uncovered on Monday thanks to intelligence gathered with the help of the Saudi-led coalition forces.
“Following an extensive search, the car, loaded with a huge quantity of explosives, was found,” he said.
Yemeni forces also arrested a computer expert, who is a key figure in AQAP, during their extensive search operations to flush out Al Qaeda elsewhere in Mukalla. The capture of Abu Hafs Al Shahri led authorities to a large number of CDs that contained information on the extremist group’s plans to destabilise Yemen.
The search operations also uncovered large quantities of lethal weapons, indicative of AQAP’s continued ability to launch attacks targeted against the civilian population of the city.
“They also wanted to threaten the people with reprisals for cooperating with the Yemeni and coalition forces,” Gen Salmin said.
Meanwhile, the top UN official in Yemen said the country and its cash-strapped central bank need support from donors and international financial institutions to save the economy from collapse.
Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said that food, fuel and medicines are in short supply, making prices exhorbitant and importers have trouble securing lines of credit to bring in goods, he said.
“The central bank is really struggling because they find it very difficult to get hard cash, to take the rials that are there and turn it into international currency,” he said.
* Wam and Reuters
Updated: June 2, 2016 04:00 AM