Al Qaeda militants have reportedly taken possession of territory in southern Yemen while continuing their offensive against Shiite Houthi Islamists in the country, Al Arabiya reports.
On Wednesday, the Al Qaeda jihadis fought the Houthis in areas within central Yemen, which resulted in a dozen or so deaths, according to security officials.
The Iran-backed Houthis, on the other hand, has recently seized control of the Hudeida port city, which is geopolitically important because it connects to the Red Sea. The Houthi rebels, who were once only based in the country’s north, have now expanded their reach throughout the state. The Houthis have also reportedly taken the city of Ibb, which lies near Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa. Sanaa was taken by the Houthis on September 21.
Al Qaeda has for some time been seeking to expand its reach in Yemen; battling Houthi fighters for power in the country that many are describing as a failed-state.
In 2012, when Yemen’s government was on the verge of total collapse, officials pointed fingers at Iran for facilitating the breakdown of their sovereignty through arming the Shiite Houthi opposition.
President Obama has recently cited air strikes in Yemen as a successful strategy that could also be implemented in engaging the Islamic State terror group in Syria and Iraq. The President said on September 11 in an address to the nation: “This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”