Yemeni government forces and their Emirati allies took control of the country’s largest oil export terminal from al-Qaida in April 2016 after ousting the terrorists from their nearby stronghold. The coalition is depriving the terrorists of the lucrative ministate they had built up over the course of a year, based around the southwestern port city of Mukalla.
About 80 percent of Yemen’s oil reserves were exported in peacetime from the Ash Shihr terminal, 68 kilometers east along the coast from Mukalla, which has been shut since the war began and al-Qaida seized the area.
A statement by the mostly Gulf Arab coalition said the offensive killed 800 al-Qaida fighters and several leaders. A Yemeni military source said 30 al-Qaida fighters had been killed.
Residents said local clerics and tribesmen had tried to persuade the al-Qaida fighters to leave quietly and that they had withdrawn westward to the neighboring province of Shabwa. Local Yemeni officials said 2,000 Yemeni and Emirati troops advanced into Mukalla, taking control of its maritime port and airport and setting up checkpoints throughout the southern city.
Al-Qaida, which has planned several foiled bombing attempts on Western-bound airliners and claimed credit for the 2015 attack at the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s offices in Paris, was taking in about $2 million a day in tax from the Yemeni port.