Aden (AFP) – A top Islamic State group leader was killed and three others arrested in a government raid on Saturday in southern Yemen, police said.
Saleh Nasr Fadl al-Bakhshi, self-proclaimed “emir” of the radical group’s branch in the Aden and Abyan regions, was killed in the raid on an IS hideout in government-held territory, a senior officer with Aden’s police force told AFP.
Islamist networks, including IS and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have exploited years of war in Yemen to expand their presence in the country’s south.
The government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has been based in southern Yemen since 2015, after Shiite Huthi rebels drove it from the capital Sanaa and much of the country’s north, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention.
Southern Yemen is the target of a US-backed operation against AQAP, led by the United Arab Emirates, as well as a long-running US drone campaign.
The Yemen war has claimed nearly 10,000 lives since Saudi Arabia and its military allies joined the conflict in March 2015, triggering what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.