At least 13 Yemeni military men killed by militants

At least 13 Yemeni military men killed by militants
Sat Oct 19, 2013 14:51:47

Two masked gunmen have killed a security officer and his bodyguard in southern Yemen while a bombing attack on a military command post in southern Ayban province killed at least 12 Yemeni soldiers.

Colonel Mohammed Abdullah al-Habashy, security adviser in the southeastern Hadramout province, was shot in the city of Sayoun on Friday by gunmen on a motorbike while he was at a restaurant with his bodyguard, according to official and witnesses.

Earlier in the day, a suicide car attack in the district of Ahwar targeted the command center of the 111th Brigade, security sources cited in the local media reported, adding that the commander of the brigade was “seriously” wounded in the blast.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, though Yemeni authorities suspected al-Qaeda militants were involved due to the similarity of the attacks with attacks carried out days earlier in the province.

The development comes as the US-backed Yemeni regime is grappling with multiple security and political problems, including threats from a powerful branch of al-Qaeda, a secessionist movement in the south and Houthi militants in the north.

Washington views Yemen, which borders oil-rich Saudi Arabia and lies near vital shipping lanes, as a front line in its struggle against al-Qaeda and has repeatedly used assassination drones in the country over the years to target suspected members of the group.

The United States is the only country to operate terror drones in the region, and it has sharply increased their use across Yemen over the past two years.

US assassination drone strikes in Yemen nearly tripled in 2012 compared to 2011, from 18 to 53, according to the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank.

Critics of US drone strikes have condemned the destructive impact of the attacks on Yemeni civilians that have been killed or seen their homes destroyed.

The US military and intelligence operatives considers any adult male killed in its assassination drone strikes as “militants,” regardless of their actual involvement with al-Qaeda.

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