5 al-Qaida members captured in S. Yemen

Five members of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were seized on Thursday by the newly-recruited security forces in the southern Yemeni province Abyan, a local military official said.

The al-Qaida members were captured at a checkpoint set up near the town of Jaar by the forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC), the official in Abyan said on condition of anonymity.

“The seized al-Qaida elements were driving their car loaded with hidden weapons and ammunition and attempted to enter Jaar secretly,” the source said.

The capture of the al-Qaida members coincided with the continuing military mobilization of the forces loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islah party which seeks to advance towards Aden.

Elsewhere in Abyan, local residents confirmed to Xinhua that sporadic clashes erupted between the STC’s security forces and unknown gunmen near the Ahwar district.

Heavy security forces were dispatched recently from the neighboring province of Aden to support the STC’s security units in combating terrorism in the turbulent province.

The Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, seen as the global terror network’s most dangerous group, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in Shabwa and Abyan provinces.