Mujahideen Of Al-Qaeda Exploit Success And Extend To Country's Center

17 Feb 2012

By Markaz Kavkaz

Mujahideen of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) swept into the southern Yemeni town of Radda (province of al-Baydah) overnight and overran it within hours, reports AFP referring to the tribal sources.

The takeover of Radda, 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of country's capital Sana'a, was another success in the fight of AQAP against the regime of Saleh, who is currently undergoing a political crisis.

Radda lies only 30 kilometers from the main highway connecting the capital Sana'a and Yemen's southern and southwestern regions, where Mujahideen control the Emirate of Abyan and most of the province of Shabwa. (We would like to note that AQAP units are also operating in other provinces in the south of Yemen, where they control large areas and towns - KC).

"Al Qaeda has taken over the town and is now the de facto power there", a local puppet official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The government's security forces have retreated to their bases and militants are now manning the checkpoints in and out of the town", he added.

AFP reports that Radda was entered by AQAP units of more than one thousand Mujahideen.

In turn, the website ZeeNews indicates that the the Mujahideen pushed into Radda from several points they had captured over the weekend, including an ancient castle that overlooks the town, a school and a mosque.

Reuters notes that the AQAP Mujahideen raised the Islamic flag over the castle and pledged allegiance to al Qaeda Emir Ayman al-Zawahri

"Al Qaeda has raised its flag over the citadel", one resident told Reuters by telephone. "Its members have spread out across the town's neighborhoods after pledging allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahri during evening prayers (on Sunday)".

On Monday, the Mujahideen captured the city's central prison, the main headquarters of puppet "police" and several government buildings.

According to local tribal elders, about 150-200 Muslim prisoners, including the Mujahideen, have been released.

Two puppet prison guards were killed on the spot. According to the CBS, another soldier got injured. AFP reported that 10 soldiers of Saleh's regime were captured.

Freed Muslims joined the Mujahideen and got weapons from them. AQAP fighters were armed with grenade launchers and machine guns. Yemen Observer indicated that the Mujahideen had heavy weaponry.

The operation to clean up the city from the remnants of puppet formations began on Sunday evening and was completed at dawn on Monday, 22 Safar 1433 (January 16, 2012). Small groups of puppets did not put significant resistance.

"There were almost no fightings took place", told a local tribal elder.

One of the pro-Saleh tribal chieftains Ammar at-Teiri said that he and his associates warned Saleh's regime that behavior and actions of AQAP men indicate their intention to storm and capture the town.

At-Teiri with his militants tried to put together a group to confront the Mujahideen, but Islamic fighters "came up with such great force that it became clear that they are stronger than the state, at least, in this town", added the chieftain.

Currently, the governor of Radda appointed Amir Tariq al-Dahab, a husband of sister of Martyr Sheikh (Insha'Allah) Anwar al-Awlaki.

Some commentators have linked the liberation of Radda in 2012 with the liberation of Zinjibar at the end of May 2011 and predict a new phase of expansion of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Battles with Saleh's formations are going on in the same Emirate of Abyan, but it is clear that the Mujahideen gain the upper hand in this confrontation.

Western media outlets write about the plight of puppets in Abyan. Thus, the Washington Post notes that despite the strong support of the Yemeni puppets from the US and the Saudi regime, the situation is worsen for them daily.

"We are like an island in a sea of al-Qaida", said puppet Lt. Abdul Mohamed Saleh, standing at a checkpoint on a desolate highway that connects Zinjibar with the port city of Aden.

Today the Mujahideen controls large areas in South Yemen, near the strategically important sea lanes through which oil supplies to the West are conducted.

AQAP has already announced its long-term prospects: to create the Islamic Emirate in Yemen (Emirate of Abyan has already established in May 2011 - KC) and start moving along the peninsula.

Invaders and puppets are concerned that AQAP will use Yemen as a base to prepare attacks on the US and the march on Saudi Arabia.

The Washington Post indicates that the bridgehead is already taking shape. One of Western journalists recently visited the Abyan and expressed the opinion that the position of the Mujahideen there as strong as anywhere else.

A puppet soldier Ali al-Katib, warring on the side of the Saleh's regime, said looking at the empty road leading to Zinjibar:

"They've attacked us three times already today". He looked as haggard as the battered landscape.

Less than a mile from the highway is located a main football stadium Al-Wahda, which was in the hands of the Mujahideen before. There is also a military base of the 25th Mechanized Brigade, which has long been under siege by the Mujahideen.

Guided by tactical considerations, the ACAP in early September left both the stadium and the base, going back to Zinjibar. This has allowed Saleh's formations move to the capital of the Islamic Emirate.

The regime called it a "victory" and on the night of September 11, 2011 declared the capture of Zinjibar, though, as it turned out, the Yemeni minions did not even entered it.

Going back to Zinjibar, deep into Abyan, the Mujahideen had lured the puppets into a trap, stretching the front line for a considerable distance and methodically weaken the regime's forces.



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