Al Mukalla: Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has praised US President Donald Trump’s administration counter-terrorism mission, saying that it is “consistent” with his government’s efforts to defeat Al Qaida and other militant groups in the country.
At a meeting in the Saudi capital on Saturday with the US ambassador to Yemen, Matthew Tueller, the internationally-recognised president said that his war-torn country shares US concerns about the threat of Al Qaida in Arabian Peninsula and Daesh, and is willing to cooperate with the Americans to crush them.
Hadi’s open support of US drone strikes in Yemen comes almost three weeks after a US commando raid targeting Al Qaida operatives in the central province of Baydha killed at least a dozen civilians, including the eight-year-old daughter of Anwar Al Awlaki, a cleric, who holds American citizenship, who was a killed in a 2011 drone strike.
The botched attack enraged locals and rights groups who called upon the new US administration to investigate the deaths and stop its deadly drone strikes against suspected militants in Yemen.
Yemeni foreign minister Abdul Malik Al Mekhlafi described the attack as an “extrajudicial killing” that would fuel terrorism.
Meanwhile, Hadi returned to the port city of Aden on Sunday, where he has temporarily shifted the government headquarters.
His visit took place as the government began paying salaries to thousands of military and security pensioners across including those who reside in Al Houthi-controlled territories.
Despite the government’s pledges to pay all public servants, hundreds of people have been protesting in the streets of some major cities in southern Yemen demanding months of unpaid salaries.
Meanwhile on the ground, fighting raged on many fronts in Taiz, Baydha, Marib, Jawf and Hajja.
In Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, fighting broke out on Saturday and Sunday in its western suburbs as rebel forces attacked areas controlled by government forces.
Local activists who document the clashes said that at least three Al Houthis and government forces were killed and several others injured in the fierce clashes but resistance fighters were able to push the rebels back to three hilly positions.
Government forces also battled the rebels in the Haradh and Medi districts in the northern province of Hajja.
And in the Hadramout provincial capital, Al Mukalla, local security authorities said they defused four bombs planted by suspected Al Qaida militants behind a private hospital.
Residents alerted the police on Saturday after spotting three locally-made bombs hidden near the hospital.
The police in Al Mukalla also discovered dozens of landmines in Sheher buried by Al Qaida militants during their reign of coastal regions in Hadramout.