Thursday, April 16, 2015

Al-#Qaeda captures major airport in southern #Yemen


Al-Qaeda militants man a checkpoint at the entrance of the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar

Military officials and residents say al-Qaeda has taken control of a major airport in southern Yemen after briefly clashing with troops.

The officials say al-Qaeda fighters clashed Thursday with members of the infantry brigade in charge of protecting the Riyan airport in the city of Mukalla, a major port city and the provincial capital of Yemen's largest province, Hadramawt.

Al-Qaeda overran the city itself earlier this month and freed inmates, including a militant commander, from its prison.

Nasser Baqazouz, an activist in the city, said the troops guarding the airport put up little resistance.

Al-Qaeda's powerful local branch has exploited the chaos in Yemen, where Shia rebels and military units loyal to a former president captured the capital in September and have been advancing despite a three-week Saudi-led air campaign.