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Oct 20, 2014 11:48 AM

Yemen says al-Qaida captures town south of capital

The Associated Press

SANAA, Yemen (AP) Al-Qaida militants on Monday captured a town south of the capital Sanaa as they fought fierce battles elsewhere against Shiite rebels known as Houthis, security officials said.

They said al-Qaida's Sunni militants seized al-Adeen town 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of from Sanaa in Ibb province. They did not give details on the capture of al-Adeen, where al-Qaida militants last week stormed the local security headquarters and held it for hours before fleeing to the mountains. The Houthis, widely suspected of links to mostly Shiite Iran, have been trying to take full control of Ibb.

Fighting, meanwhile, resumed on Monday between the Houthis and al-Qaida militants in the Raad area in Baydah province south of Sanaa. The battles left 13 Houthis and 15 militants dead, according to tribal officials in the area.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

In Sanaa, the governor of Sanaa, Abdul-Ghani Jameel, resigned on Monday, days after the Houthis, who captured the capital last month, accused him of corruption and chased him out of his office.

Yemen has for years endured attacks by al-Qaida on its army, security forces and state facilities while it struggled with crushing poverty that has bred resentment and outright rebellion. More recently, It has been grappling with a revolt by the Houthis who have in the past weeks overrun Sanaa and two northern provinces. Last week, they made another stunning sweep, taking control of the key Red Sea port city of Hodeida and the province of Damar south of the capital.

The military advances by the Shiite rebels have set the stage for the ongoing fighting between them and the Sunni militants of al-Qaida, who have appealed to Yemen's Sunni majority to rise up against the Houthis. The conflict is playing out against a backdrop of another layer of Yemen's woes: A growing secessionist movement in the once-independent south of the country.


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