By Shukri Hussein
ADEN, (AA): Al-Qaeda terrorists on Saturday morning wrested control of Ahwar, a coastal town in Yemen’s southern Abyan province, according to local witnesses.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, one Ahwar resident said that Al-Qaeda elements had “deployed at the town’s entrances and in the streets, while posting fighters on the rooftops of government buildings”.
Early Saturday, he added, Al-Qaeda militants had “exchanged fire with security forces at the town’s eastern entrance, killing three members of the popular resistance forces loyal to [President Abd Rabbu Mansur] Hadi”.
The same source said that after Al-Qaeda militants had attacked the home of Aqeel Lathaf, a local tribal headman and a leader of Ahwar’s popular resistance, the latter had fled with his entourage to an unknown location.
In recent weeks, self-styled “popular resistance committees” in Ahwar, backed by local tribesmen, have reportedly killed several Al-Qaeda militants, most recently on Feb. 13.
Ahwar is located some 175 kilometers from Zinjibar, regional capital of Yemen’s southern Abyan province.
Known for putting up stiff resistance to Al-Qaeda, the town sits on the coastal road linking Yemen’s Aden and Hadhramaut provinces to neighboring Oman.
[Photo: Saudi-led bombing of Yemen has helped al-Qaida gain more land. Yemenis standing next to civilian buildings bowling saloon bombed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes Minusbahi district in Sana’a on12 February, 2016. Photographer: Mohammed Hamoud/AA]