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Yemen: Houthis capture Al-Qaeda base 

A picture taken with a mobile phone early on May 24, 2014 shows Al-Qaeda militants posing with Al-Qaeda flags in Yemen om 24 May 2014 [AFP/Getty Images]
Al-Qaeda militants posing with Al-Qaeda flags in Yemen on 24 May 2014 [AFP/Getty Images]

The Houthi movement and allied forces in the Yemeni army have claimed that they have captured a base belonging to an Al-Qaeda affiliated group, known as Ansar Al-Shariah. The base is in the Khasaf area in Yemen’s northern Al-Jawf Province.

According to the Long War Journal, video footage has emerged showing Houthi fighters touring the base, which includes an underground prison, but it is unclear when the footage was filmed. The Houthis also managed to seize explosive belts, ammunition and other items, including the notorious black flag used by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) but more commonly associated with Daesh.

READ: ‘Imminent war’ between UAE and Saudi-backed forces in Yemen

Al-Qaeda’s “religious” manuals and documents were also showcased. One such document was entitled “Advice for the users of chat forums” and another document dated 2013 refers to a “statement gathered by the Yemeni Ulema [religious scholars] on the endeavour to mediate between the Mujahideen and the Sana’a regime.” That is a reference to the government of the late former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom the terrorist group blames for collaborating in “projects of the Americans and Gulf scholars.”

Most of the province, including its capital Al-Hazm, was taken over by the Houthi forces last month in a serious setback to the Saudi-backed coalition, which is now concentrated mainly in the city of Al-Marib, in the province of the same name.

Al-Jawf had been a traditional stronghold of AQAP and Islah-affiliated militias. The Khasaf area is notable for being the location of a US drone strike which killed the US-born ideologue Anwar Al-Awlaki in 2011.

Earlier this month, it was reported that a southern Yemeni journalist had revealed documents allegedly showing evidence of the Saudi government’s relationship with Al-Qaeda in the central province of Al-Baydah, which is now under the control of the pro-Houthi military.

READ: Yemen: WFP slams Houthis’ misuse of food aid

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