Yemen says that special forces have captured Al Qaeda member Abu Ali al-Sayari. He is a Saudi national of Yemeni origin and a senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arab Penninsula (AQAP). Three others were detained and two were killed during the raid, which took place in the southern Hadramaut region.
The US considers AQAP to be one of the deadliest branches of Al Qaeda, which was behind the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.
In 2015, Al Qaeda took over Hadramaut governorate’s capital city and seaport Mukalla. Last year Reuters reported that Al Qaeda becoming stronger in Yemen was an unintended consequence of the Saudi-led coalition’s war, backed by the US. When Saudi Arabia launched Operation Decisive Storm in March 2015, Yemen’s army left Mukalla which left the city defenseless, allowing for an easy Al Qaeda takeover and to free other members from prison.
“I prefer that al Qaeda stay here, not for Al Mukalla to be liberated,” said one 47-year-old resident. “The situation is stable, more than any ‘free’ part of Yemen. The alternative to al Qaeda is much worse.”
The Saudi-led coalition and Yemeni government forces regained control of Mukalla in April of last year, according to Al Jazeera. Newsweek reported that over 800 Al Qaeda militants were killed in the retaking of the city.