Yemeni forces arrest members of ISIL cell after raiding their Aden hideout
ADEN // Antiterrorism forces in Yemen have arrested eight alleged ISIL militants at their hideout in the southern city of Aden.
Aden police spokesman Abdurrahman Al Naqeeb said the ISIL cell is believed to be responsible for several gun attacks that have killed security personnel in the port city, which is currently the headquarters of the country’s internationally-recognised government.
Police who raided the hideout on Monday also seized weapons and written evidence of the militants’ terrorist links.
“Antiterrorism forces also found silencer-pistols and documents proving there was correspondence between the cell and leaders of the ISIL,” Mr Al Naqeeb told The National.
“During initial questioning, the eight confessed to assassinating retired officers and other officials. Some members of the cell admitted that they received financial support and orders about targets for assassination from supporters of the previous president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Houthi rebels and other parties connected to them.”
Mr Al Naqeeb said Aden’s security forces had also broken up other ISIL cells and foiled several ISIL plots to attack city institutions, including the airport, the power station and some police stations.
Also on Monday, in the southern province of Shabwa, Al Qaeda militants blew up Yemen’s only gas export pipeline.
The blast, which took place in the remote desert area of Al Uqla, severed the link between Yemen’s gas-producing Marib region and the export terminal of Belhaf on the Arabian Sea.
Elsewhere, the army said government troops in the large southern province of Hadramawt had seized four tonnes of explosives and arrested five suspected militants in the port of Shihr.
With the support of special forces from a Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE, government troops drove Al Qaeda militants out of the provincial capital, Mukalla, in April, but they are still present in other parts of Hadramawt.
Rivals ISIL and Al Qaeda have taken advantage of the conflict between the government and the Houthi rebels, who control the capital, Sanaa, to increase their presence through some southern Yemeni provinces.
They began targeting Yemeni government officials after Aden was liberated from the Houthis.
Fadhl Al Rabei, a political analyst based in Aden, said the extremists arrested on Monday should be publicly tried and punished in public, both to prevent the spread of their message throughout Aden province, and to ease the fears of the general population.
“We have heard about antiterrorism forces in Aden arresting several members of ISIL, but we have not heard about a single one being tried or punished, and we demand they should have a proper trial,” he said.
* With additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
Updated: December 6, 2016 04:00 AM