Al-Qaeda militants have captured some major facilities south of Yemen, including a major airport and an oil terminal, as clashes between government forces and terrorists rage along the southern coast of the Arab country.
Military officials in the capital Sana’a confirmed Thursday that al-Qaeda militants took control of the airport in the southern port city of Mukalla, the capital of the Hadramawt province.
The unidentified sources, who were speaking to the Associated Press, said the gains came after al-Qaeda militants managed to push out members of Yemen’s largest infantry brigade, who were in charge of securing the area.
After the leaders of the brigade fled the scene, militants easily captured a sea port and an oil terminal outside of Mukalla, a city overrun by al-Qaeda earlier this month.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), known as the most lethal arm of the terrorist network, is currently engaged in a battle against the popular committees loyal to Houthi Ansarullah fighters, who control the Yemeni capital Sana’a and other major provinces.
The battle comes against the backdrop of an ongoing aggression by Saudi Arabia against Yemen with fighter jets bombing the civilians and the infrastructure in areas under control of the Ansarullah movement while they also airdrop arms and ammunition to the AQAP militants.
There have been increased warnings that the aggression could strengthen the grip of terror groups across Yemen. Ansarullah revolutionaries have repeatedly declared the fight against extremism and terrorism as one of their major objectives.
Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, without a UN mandate, in a bid to restore power to fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a close ally of Riyadh.
Civilians and Yemeni infrastructure have been the target of the Saudi aggression against the Arabian Peninsula state.
According to sources in the Yemeni army, around 2,600 people have been killed in the Saudi aggression over the past three weeks.
The humanitarian situation in Yemen is rapidly deteriorating. Many international aid organizations have sought clearances to dispatch medical and other humanitarian supplies by air and sea to civilians in need.