The Security Belt (SB) forces in Mahfad district of Abyan southern governorate restored Friday control over one of its camps, said security source, after hours of Qaeda grasp.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) launched Friday an attack on the SB general command camp in Mahfad, that saw militants taking over the camp and military checkpoints in the district and blundering arms, before blasting the camp, the source added on condition of anonymity.
The Emirati-backed SB forces led a reverse offensive, sparking fierce clashes that left 21 soldiers killed and some ten others injured, with AQAP losses have been unknown, said the source.
The attack occurred one day after a bobby-trapped car had exploded outside a police center in Sheikh Othman, another district of Aden, killing at least ten policemenand wounding more than twenty others. No party has immediately claimed responsibility.
Earlier on Thursday,a missile-UAV double attack, claimed by the Houthi group,hit a military parade for Arab coalition and Yemeni army forces in Aden, seat of the Yemeni internationally-recognized government.
The attack killed 36 and injured other tens, including Muneer al-Yafeie (called AbilYamam), commander of the first brigade in the UAE-backed SB forces, according to interior ministry.
In March 2018, SB forces pushed Qaeda militants out of Mahfad, which had been under the group's control for months before most of its militants withdrew to other sites and mountains at the district's fringes.
On the 19th of last July, at least five troops were killed and four others wounded in an assault with RPG and medium arms, thought to be by Qaeda militants, on an SB checkpoint in Lahmar area, to the east of Modea district of Abyan.
AQAP exploited the 4-year-old war in Yemen (between the Yemeni government's forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels)to expand activity in Abyan, Hadhramout, Shabwa, Bayda, Marib and Jawf governorates.
The United Arab Emirates formed, trained and equipped the unofficial SB forces, as well as many Yemeni military and security divisions, in Aden and other southern governorates to fight Houthis but also AQAP, although the gulf state claims the group was forced out.