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Smoke rises from the site of a bomb attack on the car of Brigadier Abdul-Qader al-Shami, the head of Political Security agency, in Lahej

Source: Yemen Times

Security forces on Tuesday launched a campaign against alleged Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) gunmen in Lahj after Sunday’s ambush of the governorate’s security manager and his bodyguards.

A bodyguard of Othman Maooda, the Lahj security manager, was killed in Sunday’s attack, and Maooda’s son was injured. The ambush took place near the security department of Al-Hawata city.

Also on Sunday, gunmen attacked the government compound in Lahj, which consists of the governor’s office, local council office and several other public offices.

On Wednesday, one soldier was killed and another injured when unidentified gunmen attacked a security checkpoint in the governorate.

Ali Matir, the secretary general of the governorate, said that heightened security measures are a response to increased militant activity in Lahj.

Acccording to Bassim Al-Zuraika, the governorate media officer, the appearance of alleged Al-Qaeda gunmen in Al-Hawta is visible through the presence of Al-Qaeda flags and graffiti displaying Al-Qaeda slogans. He speculated that the increased presence of alleged Al-Qaeda affiliates in Lahj is due to the military campaigns against the militant group Abyan and Shabwa governorates, which pushed fighters from those areas into others.

Fuad Mus’ed, an Aden-based journalist, claimed that the security forces are heavily deployed in the governorate, particularly around the government compound and the security department.

He added “sporadic clashes are taking place in Al-Hawta between armed groups and soldiers but we can’t ascertain whether these groups are affiliated with Al-Qaeda or not.”

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