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Aden-Abyan Islamic Army

The Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, affiliated to the Islamic Jihad movement, has been implicated in acts of violence with the stated goal to "hoist the banner of al-Jihad, and fight secularism in Yemen and the Arab countries." Aden-Abyan Islamic Army leader Zein al-Abideen al-Mehdar [Abu El-Hassan El-Mohader] was sentenced to death for participating in the December 1998 kidnapping of 16 Western tourists. Four of the hostages were killed and another 13 hostages were freed when Yemeni security forces attacked the place where the hostages were being held. Two of the kidnappers were also killed. A Yemeni court sentenced him and two other men to death for abducting the Western tourists, reportedly carried out in revenge for the British - US air strikes on Iraq. They were also charged with sabotage and forming the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army.

Abu Hassan and his group issued numerous threats against the government and Westerners over the past year in connection to his death sentence. In March 1999 the group warned the U.S. and British ambassadors in Yemen to leave immediately. Confidential discussions among Yemen's official leadership and leaders of the Aden-Abyan Army aimed at containing the organization's members in governmental jobs in return for a pledge to abandon violence and terrorism. But in March 1999 a Yemeni extremist group released a statement refusing the agreement reached with the Yemeni government. The leadership of the Aden - Abyan Army took Al Jawf governerate in the north as its headquarter after security forces chased them from Abyan and Shebewa.

On October 17, 1999, the president of Yemen approved Abu Hassan's execution, which was immediately carried out. Hassan was executed by gunshot to the heart.

Issued a claim of responsibility for the suicide boat attack on the oil tanker MV Limburg that took place off the coast of Yemen on 6 October, 2002. Members of the Aden-Abyan Army are suspected of cooperating with al-Qaeda on the Limburg attack, as well as the January 2000 attempted attack on the USS The Sullivans and the successful October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden.



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