AQAP leaves Yemen for Somalia

April 5, 2010 at 10:28 AM
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SANAA, Yemen, April 5 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has relocated its military base of operations to Somalia in the face of a security crackdown in Yemen, authorities said.

Yemen is dealing with a litany of security challenges. A separatist movement in the south has turned violent, though a cease-fire agreement with Houthi rebels in the north is holding.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of the terrorist cabal, has complicated Yemen's security challenges, however.

AQAP emerged on the international radar after it claimed responsibility for planning the failed bombing of a U.S. passenger jet Christmas Day.

Al-Qaida propagandist and radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. native, reportedly spoke with the Christmas Day bomber before the attacks. He also issued an audio tape in March calling for war against the United States.

Yemeni military pressure, however, forced AQAP's military leadership to relocate their bases to Somalia, the Yemeni Post reports.

The Yemeni Post, citing sources close to AQAP, said more than 15 al-Qaida leaders fled to Somalia since March. Some had the help of foreigners, the report added.

AQAP leaders now based in Somalia ordered their remaining fighters in Yemen to go dormant until June.

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