12/07/2016, 16.22
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Aden: authorities uncover Islamic State cell, arrest eight Jihadis

Security forces detain militants blamed for recent deadly attacks, seizing silenced pistols and letters from IS leaders in Syria and Iraq. Government troops find four tonnes of explosives in Shihr and arrest five suspects planning “terrorist attacks”.

Aden (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Yemeni authorities have arrested eight suspected Islamic State (IS) Jihadis in connection with a spate of attacks against security personnel in Aden this year, police said.

During their operation, security forces in the southern city also seized silenced pistols and letters from IS leaders in Iraq and Syria.

The suspects were arrested in connection a spate of deadly gun attacks in the city, seat of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, which is fighting Houthi Shia rebels who control the capital Sana’a.

Insecurity in Aden prompted the cabinet to move to neighbouring Saudi Arabia last year only returning in September.

IS and its jihadi rival Al-Qaeda have taken advantage of the conflict between the government and Shia rebels to bolster their presence across much of the country’s south and south-east. IS militants seem to have especially taken advantage of the situation.

In a separate operation in the southeastern province of Hadramawt, government troops seized four tonnes of explosives and arrested five suspects in the port of Shihr planning “terrorist attacks”, the army said.

IS has been blamed for the attack on 4 March this year on the compound of the Missionaries of Charity in Aden in which 12 lay people and four nuns were killed.

Although no one claimed responsibility, and Al Qaeda distanced itself from the incident, a missionary of Indian origin, Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, was also abducted.

In recent months, there have been rumours and speculation about his death, but nothing official. Since the initial flurry of activities associated with the abduction, international media coverage has dropped off, and the Indian government, which sought to open channels with the kidnappers, has been silent.

Since January 2015, the Gulf nation has been involved in a bloody civil war between the Sunni-led government of former President Hadi, supported by Saudi Arabia, and Shia Houthi rebels, close to Iran.

Starting in March 2015 a Saudi-led Arab coalition has bombed Houthi rebel targets. This has come under sharp criticism from the United Nations for the number of casualties, many of them children.

So far, the death toll has topped 7,000 people, with more than 37,000 wounded and three million people displaced.

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