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Islamic State in Yemen / Wilayat Sana'a

In Yemen, a group calling itself the “Mujahideen of Yemen” pledged allegiance to IS in late 2014. While this particular group was previously unknown, reports had indicated the presence of IS supporters in the country. In February 2015 a group of Islamist fighters in Yemen renounced their loyalty to al Qaeda's leader and pledged allegiance to the head of the Islamic State. "We announce the formation of armed brigades specialized in pounding the apostates in Sanaa and Dhamar," the purported former AQAP supporters wrote.

A local Yemen newspaper reported in October 2014 that a statement from “Supporters of the Islamic State in the Arabian Peninsula” had been sent to “hundreds of journalists in Yemen”. This statement matched neither the oath of allegiance issued by the “Mujahideen of Yemen” nor the “Mujahideen of the Arabian Peninsula” and included statements regarding the domestic situation in Yemen, such as allegations that the government is “the slave of the crusaders, led by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi” who “gave Sanaa to the heretic Houthis”.

On March 20, 2015 suicide bombers attacked two mosques in Yemen's capital, Sana'a, Friday, killing at least 137 people and wounding about 350. At least four bombers carried out the attacks during midday prayers at the Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques, which are linked to the Houthi rebels who control the capital. The Yemeni branch of Islamic State is claiming responsibility. It put out an online statement calling the bombings "just the tip of the iceberg."

Orlando Crowcroft wrote "The question of how AQAP will respond to Wilayat Sana'a remains to be seen. AQAP distanced itself from the March attack in Sana'a and Al Qaeda has generally rejected IS. As a well-established actor in Yemen with hundreds of members and the support of major Sunni tribes, AQAP is unlikely to see 18 men in a YouTube video as a major rival."




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