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Source: Yemen Times

Thirteen soldiers were killed and 40 others wounded in attacks by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Sunday in Azan district of Shabwa governorate, according to a source in the Shabwa Security Operations Department.

Speaking to the Yemen Times on condition of anonymity, the source said that the attacks occurred in the afternoon and targeted military checkpoints in the areas of Mafraq Al-Hawta, Al-Jesr, and Jawl Al-Raida in Azan district.

The source said information regarding possible AQAP casualties is not available.

“Two Hilux car bombs were detonated in military checkpoints in Jawl Al-Raida and Mafraq Al-Hawta in Azan district, and attacks, using medium weapons, took place [in Al-Jesr]. These operations occurred while soldiers were having lunch,” he added.

 AQAP claimed responsibility for the attacks on military posts in Shabwa on Sunday afternoon in Azan district on their twitter page.

“Several soldiers were killed and injured in attacks by Ansar Al-Sharia [AQAP] affiliates on several military posts in Azan district of Shabwa. An attack targeted a military checkpoint positioned at the entrance of Azan district and left the soldiers at the checkpoint dead and wounded,” read the statement.

It continued, “meanwhile, Ansar Al-Sharia [AQAP] affiliates launched mortar shells on areas overlooking Azan district where military units are positioned.”

The state-run Saba News Agency said that soldiers battled the militants, adding that several militants were killed and wounded.  

The military, backed by popular committees in Abyan and Shabwa, carried out a military offensive starting on April 29 against alleged AQAP militants in the two governorates.

On May 8, the military announced that its recent campaign against alleged AQAP militants has been brought to a successful end.

Saeed Al-Jamhi, head of the Al-Jamhi Center for Strategic Studies, said the military was mistaken in announcing that Abyan and Shabwa were completely cleared from militants because these two governorates are the country’s main AQAP strongholds.

“AQAP sends messages [with attacks] to the military that they are still present in Shabwa and that the campaign couldn’t eradicate them. Such attacks disappoint people because they believed that the military has cleared these two governorates from militants,” he added.

The military reported on its website on May 8 that the districts of Al-Mahfad and Modia in Abyan, and the districts of Azan, Mayfa’a, and Haban in Shabwa, were cleared of militants, adding that hundreds of militants and dozens of soldiers were killed in the clashes.

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