Commander: Al-Qaeda Trying to Bribe, Recruit Yemeni Army, Popular Forces
Al-Qaeda groups operating in Yemen are doing their best to bribe the Yemeni army and popular forces after losing vast swathes of land and sustaining heavy casualties in the war against them, a senior army commander disclosed on Saturday.
“The Al-Qaeda of Yemen is working to recruit the Yemeni army soldiers and officers as well as the Arab country’s popular forces by offering them large amounts of cash,” Yemeni Army Commander Mehdi Mohammad al-Khazrawi told FNA on Saturday.
He noted that Al-Qaeda’s concentration is on coaxing those popular committee fighters who have high skills in ground battles, adding that the move is aimed at undermining Yemen’s military capabilities against an imminent Saudi ground invasion.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for nine days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. According to a report recently released by the United Nations, 10 days of Saudi-led aggression against Yemen has killed at least 539 people, including hundreds of women and children. Another 1,700 people have also been wounded over the past two weeks.
Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Five Persian Gulf States — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait — and Egypt that are also assisted by Israel and backed by the US declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued on March 26.
US President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late on March 25.
She added that while US forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, Washington was establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support.