Al-Qaeda ousted from oil-rich Yemen province: army

Updated 08 August 2017

Al-Qaeda ousted from oil-rich Yemen province: army

ADEN: Al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch has retreated from an oil-rich southern province in the face of an assault by a US-backed elite government force, a senior military official said Monday.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), seen by the US as the global network’s most dangerous franchise, has exploited Yemen’s war to expand its presence in the country’s south.
But the elite force, trained by the UAE, on Thursday launched a “major operation” against the terrorists in Shabwa province.
The group staged a “tactical retreat” from the province with no major clashes, the military official said, requesting anonymity, as he was not authorized to talk to the press.
The terrorists appear to have moved even further south into the neighboring Abyan province.
Residents of an Abyan town near the Shabwa border said they counted at least 45 cars carrying armed AQAP militants through their district.
AQAP’s Shabwa stronghold has been a focal point in a long-running American-led drone war, which has intensified since US President Donald Trump took office in January.
A US air raid on the province in June killed AQAP emir Abu Khattab Al-Awlaqi, according to the Pentagon.
Shabwa has also been the site of AQAP attacks in recent months, with the Yemen government reporting seven soldiers killed there in a suicide attack last week.
The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed that the US was helping Emirati and government forces battle AQAP in Shabwa.
The UAE, part of a Saudi-led military alliance battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, said the operation was being “closely supported by a combined UAE and US enabling force.”
Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Friday that the operation involved “a very small number” of US forces on the ground whose main task was to help the flow of information.
The assault aimed to “degrade” AQAP’s ability to coordinate terror attacks abroad, he said, adding that the US had conducted more than 80 strikes in Yemen since February 28.
US President Donald Trump ordered a special forces raid on Yemen in his first month in office which ended in the deaths of a US Navy SEAL and several Yemeni civilians in Baida province, bordering Shabwa and Abyan.
More than 8,000 people have been killed in the Yemen war since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in 2015 to support the government against Houthi rebels who had seized the capital and swathes of the country’s north.
Yemen also faces a deadly cholera outbreak and stands at the brink of famine.
The UN has called it “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”

Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

Updated 18 July 2019

Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

  • Some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security, Abdollahian says

BEIRUT: “Lebanon must be kept out of all regional crises,” said Iran’s Shoura Council assistant speaker for international affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, during a surprise visit to Beirut on Wednesday.

“We say at the top of our voice that Iran and its allies will not allow the Zionist entity and the US to damage the region’s security.”

Following his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Abdollahian said that Tehran “is convinced that the security of Lebanon is the security of the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Abdollahian added that “some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security.”

He described his talks with Berri as “good and constructive.”

“We will not allow Israel, US to interfere with regional security.”

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s Shoura Council official

Abdollahian said: “We have come today to reaffirm that Iran fully supports the people, army, resistance and government of Lebanon, and we look forward to developing relations between our two countries until they reach the highest levels.”

He said he believes that the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are for “domestic consumption,” accusing him of “making some moves in the region that are not in his favor.”

Netanyahu responded to a message from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday by threatening Hezbollah during Israel’s Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu said: “Let me be clear that if Hezbollah dares to commit an act of stupidity and attack Israel, we will deal a crushing military blow on Lebanon. But unlike Nasrallah, I do not intend to detail our plans. It would be enough to recall that, for years, Nasrallah dug terror tunnels, and we demolished them within a few days.”