The United States on Monday condemned the suicide bomb attack that killed a Yemeni Army General in the country's south, and reiterated its continued support for the Yemeni government in dealing with the al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.
"The United States condemns in strongest terms today's terrorist attack against Major General Salem Ali al-Qatan, Southern Regional Commander of the Yemeni Central Security Forces. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends as well as our sympathies to those who were wounded in this cowardly attack," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said during a press briefing on Monday.
Gen. Qatan was killed and four of his security guards were injured when the suicide bomber targeted his convoy when it was passing through the Reemi neighborhood of the port city of Aden on Monday morning.
Gen. Qatan was the Army Commander of the country's southern region and was leading an offensive against al-Qaeda militants in the region. Under his leadership, the Yemeni forces had recaptured several militant strongholds in the restive Abyan province.
"Major General al-Qatan was leading the fight against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Southern Yemen and had recently achieved some very important successes in pushing AQAP out of several Yemeni cities," Nuland said.
Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants have established themselves in Yemen's southern and south-eastern regions, taking advantage of the instability triggered by the year-long uprising that eventually ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Yemeni military had begun the ongoing anti-militant offensive in Abyan on May 12 with the intention of recapturing areas seized by the militants over the past year. More than 350 people, including 250 militants and 50 soldiers, are believed to have died in Abyan since the offensive began.
"The United States will continue to support President Hadi and those who carry on the efforts of Major-General al-Qatan as they work to realize a brighter and more prosperous future for the Yemeni people," the spokesperson added.
A weak government led by President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi is struggling to enforce order in the largely lawless country since Saleh stepped down in February under a peace initiative mediated by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
by RTT Staff Writer
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