Saturday, March 3, 2012
Yemen: U.S. security force attacked by Islamists in city of Aden
The Ansar al_Sharia group that some link to Al Qaeda attacked what the Pentagon described as a security team. This is the first admission that there were any U.S. forces on the ground in Yemen although the presence of some special forces has long been suspected.
Ansar al-Sharia claim to have killed a CIA agent in the attack. The Pentagon however claims they suffered no casualties. The group also claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed a number of people on the same day as the new predisident was sworn in.
According to a Yemeni security official a gunmen shot at a U.S. team that had been training Yemeni security foces. The shots hit their armoured vehicle but injured no one. Pentagon officials claim the attack took place in the city of Aden itself rather than just the province. Interesting that U.S. armoured units are rolling through a main Yemeni city.
Several times Obama has ruled out sending any ground troops to Yemen but no doubt training units and special forces do not count! During the turmoil in Yemen Ansar al-Sharia made inroads in many areas of Yemen taking over the entire province of Abyan. They have made progress in Aden too as the present attack shows.
The U.S. has called Ansar al-Sharia an Al Qaeda front however it is separate from AQAP or Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that also operates in Yemen and is attacked by the U.S. Drone and air attacks have been common on both groups. For more see this article.