US, Yemeni and UAE forces target Al Qaeda stronghold

Yemeni army soldiers fire rockets at mountainous positions of Al Qaeda militants at the town of Meyfaa in Shabwa.

:: Yemeni, Emirati and American troops are conducting a “clearing operation” aimed at driving Qaeda militants from one of their major strongholds in southern Yemen, American officials said.

The offensive in Shabwa Province started last week and includes about 2,000 Yemeni forces backed by dozens of advisers from the United Arab Emirates, and a “handful of United States Special Operations commandos providing intelligence and planning assistance”, the New York Times reported.

Large numbers of US troops and UAE soldiers have overrun wide swaths of the province of Shabwa, a Houthi militia appointed deputy governor, Mohammad Abu Harbah told Houthi controlled media outlets.

In addition to the ground troops, who the Pentagon says are providing intelligence support, the US is also refueling aircraft involved in the operation Foreign policy reported. It’s the largest ground offensive in the country since 2016.

A local army commander told the New York Times that the Balhaf liquefied natural gas plant in Shabwa is being protected by Sudanese, Emirati and Yemeni soldiers. “The plant is secured from Al Qaeda attacks,” said Khalid Al Adhami.

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