Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1133, 31 Jan - 6 Feb 2013
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1133, 31 Jan - 6 Feb 2013

Ahram Weekly

Hadi supports US drone attacks

The number of hostages held by Al-Qaeda is growing and their demands are unlikely to be met, reports Nasser Arrabyee

Al-Ahram Weekly

Counter-terrorism special forces supported by four units of the Yemeni army started a major operation early Tuesday to rescue the Finnish couple and Austrian man who were kidnapped by tribsmen from the middle of the Yemeni capital Sanaa early last December before Al-Qaeda paid the kidnappers off and took the hostages somewhere in their stronghold of Al-Manaseh area of Radaa, 200km southeast of Sanaa.

More than 15 soldiers were killed in two operations implemented by Al-Qaeda on Monday, one of them by a suicide car bombing in an attempt by Al-Qaeda to stop the army from advancing towards their stronghold of Al-Manaseh under the leadership of the local leader of Al-Qaeda Kayed Al-Dhahab, brother of the slain leader Tarek Al-Dhahab.

The army now is controlling Al-Thaleb area which overlooks the villages of Al-Manaseh. By Monday, about 5,000 civilians had fled their homes in fear of confrontations. The civilians escaped to Mayfeh area in Ans where they took refuge in schools and mosques, according to local sources.

Despite all these bloody confrontations, tribal leaders are still trying to convince Al-Qaeda leaders to release the three Western hostages in return for a cease-fire and withdrawal of the army.

However, Al-Qaeda demands not only these things, but also an end to US drone attacks on their areas and all other areas being targeted by drones now.

Dozens of Al-Qaeda fighters were killed in Al-Manaseh area of Radaa by drones including 11 civilians who were killed by mistake late last year.

Therefore, it seems extremely difficult to convince Al-Qaeda to release the Western hostages especially seeing that they were able to hold two more hostages, a Saudi diplomat and Swiss woman, for about one year now.

Which means Al-Qaeda has now five hostages: a Saudi diplomat, a Swiss woman, a Finnish couple and an Austrian man.

To support Al-Qaeda demands, tens of activists organised a demonstration around the house of President Hadi, raising Al-Qaeda flags and demanding an end to the drone attacks on Yemen. The US government escalated the drone attacks in January this year, sometimes to five per day.

The activists were mainly from Karama, Hood, Helf Al-Fadhool organisations (the three civil society organisations are affiliated to the largest Islamic party Islah, Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood). And also Al-Qaeda veterans established a new Salvation Party, and participated in the demonstration on Monday around the house of President Hadi in Sanaa.

Mohamed, one of the demonstrators, said if Al-Houthi is allowed to raise their slogan (death to America, death to Israel, curse to Jews and victory to Islam), “why we are not allowed to raise this flag which says only: No God but Allah”.

Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda of Yemen denied reports that it has established a political party. A statement published on their website reads, “we did not establish a political party.” The newly established Salvation Party that was established mainly by repentant Jihadists and Al-Qaeda members who returned from Afghanistan.

“Democracy is kufr, against Islamic belief,” said the statement. The statement also condemned the French interference in Mali.

All these developments came only one day after the UN Security Council held a special meeting in Sanaa to support President Hadi and the unity of Yemen. President Hadi supports the drone attacks. He said while on a visit to the US late last year, he is impressed by the accuracy and technology of drones.


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