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US forces arrive in southern Yemen: Report

Yemeni security forces inspect unexploded ordnance confiscated from al-Qaeda militants in the Lahij Province, as they prepare to neutralize mines and explosives in the desert of al-Alam, east of the southern port city of Aden, April 29, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

A report says US Special Forces have arrived in Yemen to fight alongside Emirati forces in alleged operations against al-Qaeda militants in the country's south.

Yemen’s al-Masirah television channel on Sunday quoted Tom Bawman, the National Public Radio’s Pentagon reporter, as saying that the troops had arrived in Yemen on April 25.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE last year provided financial and military support to militants to confront Houthis and the Yemeni army units that had taken over the security of the country after president Abd Rabbuh Manur Hadi resigned.

US deployment of troops comes a year after the withdrawal of its forces from Yemen.

On March 21, 2015, the US evacuated its remaining forces out of al-Anad airbase in southern Yemen “due to the deteriorating security situation” a day after al-Qaeda captured the nearby city of al-Houta.

Al-Qaeda has become stronger in Yemen taking advantage of the chaos created by the Saudi military campaign against Houthis more than a year ago.

Lately, Riyadh and its allies have announced an offensive against al-Qaeda in a decision seen by analysts as an attempt to ward off international criticism of the Saudi intervention in Yemen. 

Last month, forces loyal to Hadi and Emirati troops reportedly overran Mukalla after al-Qaeda militants left the seaport in southeast Yemen.

Back then, the official Saudi news agency SPA claimed that more than 800 al-Qaeda members had been killed in the operation.

But residents said al-Qaeda withdrew quietly westward to neighboring Shabwa province after negotiations with local clerics and tribesmen.

They also said there was no fighting after Saudi-backed units mobilized their forces at Mukalla's suburbs. 

Yemen has been under military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March last year.

At least 9,400 people, including 4,000 women and children, have been killed, and over 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression on Yemen aimed at shoring up the former regime of Hadi.

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