Yemen foiled an attack in June 2016 by al-Qaida terrorists who planned to target local administrative headquarters in the city of Mukalla. According to reports, security forces found a car laden with explosives that an al-Qaida suspect planned to detonate.
“We received intelligence about al-Qaida’s plans to launch a major terrorist attack in Mukalla aimed at destabilizing the city and creating panic amongst its residents,” the news agency WAM quoted Gen. Faraj Salmin, commander of Yemen’s 2nd Military Region Command in the eastern province of Hadramout, as saying.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) largely withdrew from Mukalla in April 2016 when government and Emirati Soldiers seized the city, which had been used by extremists to raise money from smuggling amid the chaos of civil war.
Special teams from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces provided operational assistance to Yemeni forces to rid the city of remaining AQAP members. An al-Qaida informational technology expert known as Abu Hafs al Shahri was arrested during one of the search operations in the city, WAM said.
The city on the Arabian Sea has been the center of a rich mini-state that AQAP built up as it exploited conflict between government loyalists backed by a Gulf Arab coalition, of which the UAE is a part, and Houthi rebels.
AQAP, which has planned several foiled bombing attempts on Western-bound airlines and claimed credit for the 2015 attack at the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s offices in Paris, sought to carve out a quasi-state last year, offering to export 2 million barrels of oil with the approval of Yemen’s government, which refused any such deal.