Fierce clashes erupt near al-Anad airbase in Yemen

Fierce clashes erupt near al-Anad airbase in Yemen
Clashes between government forces and Houthi rebels flared on Tuesday morning near the strategic al-Anad airbase, following a surprise attack by rebels attempting to advance towards Lahj.
2 min read
21 June, 2016
Houthi rebels and pro-government forces battled in the southern city [File Photo: Anadolu]
Fierce clashes erupted place between Houthi rebels and pro-government forces in Yemen's al-Qubayta, nearby the al-Anad airbase, on Tuesday morning.

The fresh fighting follows a surprise attack by militias attempting to advance towards Lahj, local sources said, noting that an operation was launched in Kirsh, Raas al-Aara and Bab al-Mandab several days ago.

Similarly, al-Qaeda fighters suffered losses in recent days when US airstrikes killed six militants over the past week.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) "remains a significant threat to the region, the United States and beyond," US Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, said in a statement last week.

"We remain committed to defeating AQAP and denying it safe haven regardless of its location."

The United States, which considers AQAP the most dangerous al-Qaeda branch, regularly conducts airstrikes against the jihadist group in Yemen, mostly using drones.

The first strike took place on June 8 in al-Bayda Governorate, killing two al-Qaeda operatives and destroying their weapons-laden vehicle, CENTCOM said.

A June 10 strike in Marib Governorate killed two fighters, while a June 12 strike in Shabwah Governorate killed two others.

AQAP has several thousand "adherents and fighters" in Yemen, where it is "very active," CIA Director John Brennan told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Yemeni foreign minister and head of the government delegation at the peace talks said Houthis were not prepared for peace talks as the negotiations entered their second month.

Kuwait-based peace talks have yet to establish any real progress almost two months into negotiations, as Yemen's parties continue to bear grudges.

The factions have yet to achieve any major breakthrough and a deal has not been reached, said Yemen's foreign minister and the head of the government delegation, Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, who added that opposing teams "have been revolving in a vacuum".