Written By: Shuaib M. al-Mosawa
Article Date: Sep 27, 2010 - 4:24:07 PM
An estimated 60 alleged al-Qaeda fighters escaped late Thursday from government troops besieging al-Huta area, Abdulla Atif Ba Auda, General Director of Maifa’ah local council, told the Yemen Observer on Saturday afternoon.
Security officials have determined that the al-Huta area of Shabwa province has become a new launching pad for al-Qaeda operations. Civilians were evacuated by government troops last week, so that the troops could isolate and capture al-Qaeda members.
The defense ministry website quoted on early Saturday a security source who said that security forces were successful in clearing al-Huta area of al-Qaeda militants last Friday.
However, the alleged al-Qaeda fighters have now escaped.
“ The alleged al-Qaeda militants probably managed to escape at night[last Thursday] from al-Huta area due to its mountainous nature, heading to different places,” Ba Auda added.
Colonel Mansur Hadi, Security Director of Maifa’ah district, said, in a statement to the Yemen Observer, that al-Qaeda left a Hilux car behind with explosive materials inside.
The alleged al-Qaeda militants have escaped to the neighboring mountain of Salmoon, Hadi added.
Fighting between government troops and alleged al-Qaeda affiliates erupted in Shabwa province last Thursday, Septemper 16th.
Government troops have been besieging the al-Huta area since a deadly attack by apparent al-Qaeda militants on a security checkpoint killed three soldiers and injured two others on September 16th.
Based on official accounts, the fighting left four al-Qaeda fighters and four troops dead so far.
The Yemeni government has increased its attacks against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula(AQAP) since Nigerian Adulmutalib, who is believed to have been trained by AQAP in Yemen, attempted to blow up a U.S.-bound plane last Christmas.
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