The US military on Tuesday carried out an air strike in Yemen against al-Qaeda’s training camp in the Arabian Peninsula. Dozens of al-Qaeda fighters were killed.
“This strike deals a blow to AQAP’s ability to use Yemen as a base for attacks that threaten U.S. persons, and it demonstrates our commitment to defeating al-Qaeda and denying it a safe haven,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a report by Reuters.
The training camp was situated in the mountains of Yemen. Although Pentagon has not specified the camp’s location, a witness has revealed that the training camp was formerly a military base. It was captured by al-Qaeda fighters; located about 75 kilometres west of the city of Mukalla. The camp was reported to be actively operated by 70 fighters of al-Qaeda.
“We continue to assess the results of the operation, but our initial assessment is that dozens of AQAP fighters have been removed from the battlefield,” Cook said.
A tribal member living at the training camp revealed that around 40 people were killed and wounded in the Brom Mafia district due to the airstrike. He said he was concerned for his safety, reports Yahoo News.
Yemen has long been under al-Qaeda’s stronghold. The group has been actively operating there since its inception in 2009. It was formed as a Yemeni and Saudi al Qaeda branches. The group has always tried to harm Western interests. It has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, which killed 12 people.
The country’s civil war between Houthi rebels and loyal forces of Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi gave more breeding space to the AQAP. Since then the militant group has broadened up its horizons in Yemen. The war had given militants more freedom to capture cities and large swathes of land.
Islamic State, another jihadist group in Yemen, has also taken advantage of the war. AQAP is facing the competition from IS as it has actively carried out several attacks and seizures across the country.