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Yemen blames AQAP for Shabwa twin blasts - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Aug. 4, 2013 file photo, a Yemeni soldier stops a car at a checkpoint in a street leading to the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

In this August 4, 2013, file photo, a Yemeni soldier stops a car at a checkpoint in a street leading to the US embassy in Sana’a, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemeni authorities have accused Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) of Friday’s twin attacks on army and police camps in Shabwa governorate in the south of Yemen that killed and injured dozens of soldiers, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.

Other sources confirmed that the actual death toll exceeded 40, contradicting the official figures.

Military forces thwarted a third attack on the Balhaf liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, but attackers kidnapped a number of soldiers and took them to an unknown location, military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Yemeni sources said: “Gunmen attacked a military location and a police center in Mayfa’a and Mishehma districts in the Shabwah governorate with a car bomb yesterday [Friday] at dawn . . . coinciding with another attack on the special security forces base.”

Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee, the country’s highest military and security authority, identified 15 individuals it said were behind the “criminal operation” in a press release it issued Friday evening.

The committee vowed a strong and decisive action against “those terrorist militants,” the Yemeni news agency SABA reported.

Shabwa governorate is considered one of the country’s most important economic centers and is home to the Balhaf LNG plant. The plant, which is the country’s largest gas and oil export outlet, is a crucial source of income for the government.

The province is home to the city of Azzan, once a stronghold for the emirs of AQAP, who fled following the army’s victory against Ansar Al-Sharia in 2011.

In separate news, Houthis and Salafists have reportedly reached an agreement to end the now three-year-old conflict in Dammaj that has caused hundreds of deaths, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, a member of the Presidential Mediation Committee in Dammaj, Sheikh Alawi Al-Basha, said the committee has “authorized a mechanism to end tension and conflicts between Houthis and Salafists in Dammaj,” in a step which he said “gained the approval of the two sides.”

Hamdan Al-Rahbi also contributed reporting.