Last updated: 30 March, 2012

Eight, including five suspected Al-Qaeda members, die in Yemen violence

Al-Qaeda members sabotaged a gas pipeline in southern Yemen Friday after eight people, including five suspected Al-Qaeda members, were killed in an air strike and a shooting, a local official said.

The sabotage halted operations along the 320-kilometre (200-mile) pipeline linking Marib province to Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden.

Fire and billowing smoke could be seen from kilometres away, the official said.

“They were Al-Qaeda members who sabotaged the pipeline in response to the raids,” the local official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The pipeline attack came shortly after two US drone attacks in eastern Yemen targeted Al-Qaeda suspects, an official in Shabwa province said.

Five suspected members of the Islamist group were killed when a missile slammed into their car in the town of Azzan, 150 kilometres (90 miles) east of Ataq, the capital of Shabwa, he added.

Witnesses said the car burst into flames before other militants put out the fire and retrieved the bodies.

An official at Azzan hospital said six people in a car travelling in the opposite direction of the targeted vehicle were wounded, one of whom later died.

Elsewhere, two men, including an intelligence officer, were shot dead as they left a mosque in the southern port city of Aden in an Al-Qaeda revenge attack, tribal sources said.

The Islamist group had recently distributed a statement threatening to sabotage oil pipelines in the event of US or Yemeni raids against them.

In October the group claimed a rocket attack on which stopped gas exports along the pipeline for ten days.

Yemen began exporting liquefied natural gas from Balhaf in 2009. French group Total has an almost 40% interest in the liquefication factory for Yemeni gas.

Al-Qaeda has a strong presence in Abyan province, north of Aden, and has controlled its capital of Zinjibar since May 2011. But the Assal tribe drove them out of Mudia.