By Jim Kouri
The Yemeni police and security forces were placed Monday and Tuesday on maximum alert following a weekend of deadly terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who have gained control of most of Yemen’s provinces in that country’s south, a U.S. security official told the Law Enforcement Examiner.
The security official said he and several colleagues believe the next terror threats to be faced by Americans within the continental United States will be perpetrated by Yemeni-connected al-Qaeda terrorists.
“It doesn’t take much imagination to envision Yemen turning into a new Afghanistan complete with training camps and volunteers to travel to the U.S. and European nations to plan and carry out terrorist attacks,” said the Law Enforcement Examiner’s anonymous security source.
The Yemeni government terror alert announcement came after the death toll rose to 150 from fighting in the southern province of Abyan between al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Yemeni police commandos and security force.
No longer depending solely on police and security forces, the Yemeni government issued a directive demanding all combat forces, including the air force, to fully prepare for combat with AQAP in the southern provinces of Abyan, Aden, Lahj and al-Bayda, the security official told the Law Enforcement Examiner.
“The order was made following a meeting on Monday between President Abd-Rabbu Hadi and the generals of the Yemeni Republican Guard, Yemen Special Forces, the Central Security Forces and the southern military brigades,” the source said, adding that “there is some talk of unleashing an offensive against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) within a week.”
The situation in Yemen is being closely monitored by the Obama national security team since there are a number of U.S. special forces and military advisors assisting in counterterrorism there, the Law Enforcement Examiner source said.
This latest development came a mere few hours after al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for bombing an Antonov military cargo plane within the capital Sanaa, which was blown up on Saturday, according to an Israeli source in Tel Aviv.
Al-Qaeda admitted bombing the plane is part of the terror group’s ‘Operation Cutting the Tail’ which it claims already captured 70 soldiers after it overran a military base on Sunday, the anonymous Israeli source informed the Law Enforcement Examiner.
Meanwhile, al-Qaeda leaders claimed on Monday that despite the resistance of government forces and air raids during the Sunday battle, only two of its fighters were killed and 13 others wounded, according to the Amit Meir Information Center in Israel.
Overall, suicide car bombs and violent attacks against the Yemeni forces have increased over the past two weeks. A deadly suicide bombing two weeks ago that targeted the presidential palace killed nearly 30 Republican Guards, at the same day when Hadi was sworn in at the parliament. The al-Qaeda terrorists claimed responsibility for the attack on the following day.
The AQAP attacks underscore the challenges facing the new president who won support from major political forces, the United States and Saudi Arabia. He is tasked with restoring security and stability to Yemen and putting an end to growing influence of al- Qaeda that threatens the daily oil shipping routes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, according to Amit Meir.
Meanwhile, al-Qaeda in Iraq launched a deadly attack yesterday that left 27 policemen killed, according to Law Enforcement Examiner’s Israeli source.
“The gunmen were carrying forged arrest warrants and used their fake military uniforms and vehicles to deceive the police checkpoints and to help in capturing and murdering their targets in the city of Baghdad,” the source said.