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Saudi-led coalition plans to hand over southern Yemeni sea crossing to al-Qaeda terrorists, official warns

This file picture shows members of the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist group in an undisclosed location in Yemen’s central province of al-Bayda. (Photo via Twitter)

A senior Yemeni official has warned that the Saudi-led coalition waging a devastating military campaign against the Arab country plans to hand over a strategic sea crossing in Yemen’s southern province of Abyan to members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

The deputy provincial governor of Abyan, Saleh al-Junaidi, warned on Thursday that foreign terrorists and extremist forces have been transferred on at least two occasions to the shores of Abyan – the last of which took place just two days ago, Yemen’s official Saba news agency reported.

Junaidi noted that the Saudi-led alliance is actually seeking to provide al-Qaeda terrorists with a safe haven off the coast of Ahwar district.

He said the Takfiri elements have been transferred from Syria to Abyan to join the ranks of Saudi mercenaries in Yemen. 

Dozens of foreign terrorists have been transferred by al-Qaeda members to border areas in the provinces of Abyn and al-Bayda, specifically to terrorist strongholds in the al-Sawma'ah and Dhi Na'im districts of Bayda, Junaidi noted.

The deputy provincial governor of Abyan then accused militants with the al-Qaeda-affiliated Salafist Islah Party of facilitating the docking and loading of unidentified ships off the coast of Abyan province on multiple occasions during the past few weeks. 

Junaidi then warned against a plan to surrender the province to terrorist organizations in the wake of heavy defeats by Saudi-led coalition forces on various fronts, particularly in Yemen’s central province of Ma’rib.

He finally called on freedom-loving residents of the province to expose the movements of terrorist organizations in their regions, and to stand up against establishment of new military camps as well as recruitment and training centers there.

Three Yemeni civilians killed in Saudi shelling

Separately, at least three civilians were killed when Saudi border guards shelled a residential neighborhood in Yemen’s mountainous northwestern province of Sa’ada.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Masirah television network that Saudi forces fired projectiles at al-Raqou area in the Monabbih district of the province at Thursday dawn.

The sources added that three civilians were killed in the shelling, while four others sustained injuries.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and other regional allies, launched a bloody war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing popular Ansarullah movement. 

Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

The Saudi-led military aggression has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions of people. It has also destroyed Yemen's infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases across the country.

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