Skip to main content

Aden residents ‘live in terror’ as Yemeni forces clash with al-Qaeda

'We live in terror... We got rid of the Houthis and now al-Qaeda militants have come to turn our lives into hell'
Yemeni women stand at the site of bombing that targeted an Aden police checkpoint (AFP)

Yemeni forces once again locked horns with al-Qaeda in Aden as they battled to try to flush the militants out of the southern city, security officials said.

The Saudi-led coalition pounded al-Qaeda positions from the sky on Tuesday, while pro-government forces lay siege to and clashed with al-Qaeda fighters in Aden's central Mansura district, AFP quoted local security officials as saying.

As the Saudi-led coalition helicopters and jets flew overhead, residents said that they had been left fearing for their lives.

"We live in terror... We got rid of the Houthis and now al-Qaeda militants have come to turn our lives into hell," one resident told AFP.

Al-Qaeda have long had a presence in southern Yemen but have managed to expand their reach thanks to the ongoing conflict between supporters of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Houthi militias, backed by supporters former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Houthis managed to seize most of Aden in April last year and endured months of heavy Saudi bombing before having to withdraw the majority of their forces last summer.

However, al-Qaeda has continued to expand with its militants blamed for carrying out a series of attacks, including an August bombing of a secret police station in Aden.

In October, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular managed to seize and raise its flag over various Aden districts.

The pro-government troops and loyalist militias have been trying to oust the militants.

The Islamic State group has also been able to use the political vacuum to expand its presence in the city.

Both AQAP and IS now occupy government buildings and are seen patrolling several districts and intimidating civilians.

IS has claimed a string of attacks and assassinations in recent months. 

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.