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Source: Yemen Times

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) media outlet Al-Malahim released a YouTube video on Saturday purporting to show its gunmen storming Seyoun city, Hadramout governorate, on May 23.

“Al-Qaeda is trying to show its presence, especially after the campaign waged by the army on Al-Qaeda strongholds in the governorates of Shabwa and Abyan in the south of Yemen,” said Nabeel Al-Sharjabi, professor of political science at Sana’a University.

Al-Sharjabi explained that the video only displayed limited footage of the clashes and did not show the militants breaking into government facilities and security headquarters. “The video focused on emphasizing the character of leading AQAP figure in Abyan, Jalal Baleedi,” Al-Sharjabi said.

The video contained an interview with Baleedi, who elaborated on the reasons behind the Seyoun attack. According to Baleedi it was a response to previous military offensives on AQAP locations in Shabwa and Abyan and “a preemptive strike to confuse the enemy.”

Al-Sharjabi’s said that the army is weak and currently refrains from taking any serious steps toward confronting AQAP.

“The army and the counter-terrorism unit should develop their plans,” he added. According to him, the security campaign undertaken by the army failed to block the borders of Abyan and Shabwa, making it possible for alleged AQAP members to flee to Hadramout.

Aysh Awas, a political analyst at the Saba Center for Strategic Studies, explained that the video contained footage showing a number of streets in Seyoun city, close to the sites that were targeted. “There was no significant security presence at the time,” he notes, saying that checkpoints were supposed to be in place that could fend off possible attacks.

Awas said that AQAP members used advanced techniques in producing the videotape. “It is clear that Al-Qaeda has experience in everything it does, even in videotaping.”

Seyoun city was attacked on May 23, leaving 15 AQAP members, among them three Saudi nationals, and 12 soldiers killed and 11 soldiers injured, according to an announcement made by the Ministry of Defense.

Apart from naming the three Saudis and two Yemeni soldiers, one of whom was only injured, the ministry did not release any names or provide evidence for its claims.

The recently released AQAP video does not say whether any of its members were killed or injured. It only mentions that AQAP was able to kill and injure dozens of security personnel and soldiers.

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