By Jim Kouri
A Yemeni Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team — trained by American police advisors — on Sunday captured the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives suspected of launching an attack that killed an army general in the city of Aden in early June, according to an Israeli police and counterterrorism source.
“President Abdul-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Sunday met chiefs of military intelligence agencies and received a complete report regarding the arrest of several terrorist cell members, including the one who planned the suicide attack that killed Maj. Gen. Salim Ali Qatan, commander of the southern military region, in Aden province,” the country’s defense ministry said in a statement posted on its web site.
“A total of 10 terrorist operations were foiled by [SWAT teams] in the capital Sanaa and two other militant attacks in the port city of Aden,” the web site noted.
“A special forces team also aborted [planned] terrorist operations in Mukalla city, the capital of southeastern Hadramout province,” the ministry added.
On June 17, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a military convoy, killing Maj. Gen. Salim Ali Qatan, who was the commanding officer of the military’s fight against AQAP radical Islamists in the southern region of Yemen, the Israeli source told the Law Enforcement Examiner.
Following Gen. Qatan’s assassination, the Yemeni government initiated a large-scale military offensive against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula members.
According to the Law Enforcement Examiner’s Israeli source, last week the military operation chased out the Islamists from several towns and villages, which they had controlled for about 10 months.
Combating AQAP terrorists in southern Yemen is one of the challenges confronting Yemeni interim President Hadi, who had promised to launch a national dialogue to settle disputes among all political factions and uproot the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda.