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Yemen: Sana'a faces worsening security crisis - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Army soldiers man a checkpoint in Al-Mahfad, in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan May 23, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Army soldiers man a checkpoint in Al-Mahfad, in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, on May 23, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Sana’a is facing an escalating security crisis, with Al-Qaeda–affiliated militants attacking government infrastructure in the south of the country and sectarian fighting between Sunni rebels and Shi’ite Houthi fighters worsening in the central governorate of Amran.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Yemen attacked government and military infrastructure in the southeastern province of Hadramout on Friday evening, as Sana’a continues a major military offensive in the south of the country against AQAP.

Local media reported that at least 32 people were killed in an AQAP attack on the town of Seyoun, the second-largest city in Hadramout province. Gunmen targeted the army headquarters, the central security headquarters, the central bank building, the traffic police department and the post office on Friday evening.

It was unclear whether this was a hit-and-run attack in retaliation against a recent government crackdown on AQAP in the south of the country, or whether the gunmen were seeking to take control of the town but had been repelled. Sana’a’s military offensive against AQAP had predominately focused on the southern Abyan and Shabwa provinces, forcing militants to flee east into Hadramout.

In other new from Yemen, dozens have been reported killed or injured in the latest violence between Shi’ite tribal members in the central province of Amran. At least eight people were killed in the latest round of violence on Thursday, with approximately 40 people being killed over the past weeks.

However local security officials, speaking to Yemen’s state SABA news agency, announced that the “tensions” in the province had been “contained” on Saturday.

“We reached a ceasefire at around 1 am [on Saturday morning], thanks to the directives of the president and commander-in-chief [Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi], who ordered an immediate end to the fighting,” commander of the Amran security forces Brig. Gen. Anasi told SABA.