More details on December 17 Raid

Muhammad al-Ahmadi, one of the best young Yemeni journalists, has another excellent piece on the December 17 raids in this week's edition of al-Ghad. (As usual, with Muhammad's writings - there is a reason he is a friend of mine - I highly recommend his article.)

Muhammad confirms what I wrote yesterday (citing a Mareb Press article) that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Hani Abdu Musalih al-Shalan, who was repatriated to Yemen in June 2006, was killed in the December 17 raid in Arhab. (My apologies, but I am traveling for the holidays which means I don't have access to my Yemeni reference books and therefore I am less sure of the vowelling of this name than usual.)

He also confirms the names of two other AQ suspects killed in that raid, which I wrote about yesterday. But he does add the information that the third individual killed in the raid, Mutay'a Ratash, had spent time in Yemen's security prisons. This should come as little surprise to anyone who has followed Yemen, and I have long argued that Yemen's revolving door prisons had done more to compound the problem of al-Qaeda and extremism in Yemen than they have to solve it.

Muhammad also writes that Arif Muajli was wounded in the raid (not just that he surrendered himself as was earlier suggested) and lists the names of the six captured individuals.

He also writes about the two AQ members killed in the Christmas Eve strike on Fahd al-Qus'a's farm in Shabwa. The first is Salih al-Dhughari and Muhammad Ahmad Salih 'Amir, whom I have referred to previously as Muhammad Salih al-'Awlaqi. There were reportedly six others that were killed in the raid.

In a piece of information that should surprise absolutely no one given recent events here in the US, Muhammad quotes a security official saying that the December 17 and December 24 raids are just the beginning of a series of raids that will be taking place against al-Qaeda in Yemen.

This means that while the 1st Armored Division under Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar is fighting in the North - one thing that has been overlooked in all the AQ news is the rumors of 'Abd al-Malik al-Huthi's death - 'Ammar Muhammad and the NSB will be taking the fight to AQ.

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