The Obama Administration told the Yemeni leader, an American ally, to step down last year.
Yemenis return to the restive southern city of Zinjibar on January 14, after fleeing nearly eight months of fighting between the army and al-Qaeda-linked insurgents. Al-Qaeda militants have swept into the Yemen town of Rada, overrunning it within hours, marking a significant advance by the extremists towards the capital Sanaa. (AFP )
Al Qaeda terrorists seized control of a town just south of the Yemeni capital on Monday. The terrorists stormed a local prison and freed at least 150 inmates.
USA Today reported:
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Al-Qaeda militants seized full control of a town south of the Yemeni capital on Monday, overrunning army positions, storming the local prison and freeing at least 150 inmates, security officials said.
The capture of Radda in Bayda province, some 100 miles south of Sanaa, underscores the growing strength of al-Qaeda in Yemen as it continues to take advantage of the weakness of a central government struggling to contain nearly a year of massive anti-government protests.
The opposition has accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is to step down this month in line with a power transfer deal, of allowing the militants to overrun the city to bolster his claims that he must remain in power to secure the country against the rising power of Islamist militants.
Security officials said the militants threw a security ring around Radda, preventing residents from leaving or entering, and killed two soldiers and wounded a third in clashes with army troops.
The fighters pushed into the town from several points they had captured over the weekend, including an ancient castle that overlooks the town, a school and a mosque. They freed 150-200 inmates, including an unspecified number of militants loyal to al-Qaeda. The officials said some of the freed inmates joined the militants after they were given arms.
The militants seized weapon caches and vehicles from the security headquarters after killing two soldiers while the rest of the soldiers fled.