US counterterrorism advice

John Brennan’s visit comes amid a new offensive against Islamist fighters.

War on terrorism in Yemen
A Yemeni government spokesman said Brennan is in Yemen to reiterate holistic US support' [EPA]

John Brennan, the US president’s counterterrorism adviser, is in Yemen amid a new offensive against Islamist fighters and after Washington said it had foiled an airliner bomb plot linked to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the Arabian peninsula.

The US has stepped up its drone attacks in Yemen since President Abd Rabbou Mansour al-Hadi took office in February, and the Pentagon said this week it had recently resumed sending military trainers into the Gulf Arab country.

In a brief statement, the US embassy in Yemen said Brennan had “conveyed President Obama’s strong commitment to support Yemen as it continues to implement its political agreement and prepares for a comprehensive national dialogue”.

No other details of the meeting were immediately available.

Mohammed al-Basha, a Washington-based Yemeni government spokesman, said earlier that Brennan had flown into Yemen “to reiterate holistic US support to Yemen not only in the field of counterterrorism but also by providing assistance to help Yemen overcome its many other economic and security challenges”.

Brennan’s visit comes amid increasing attacks on officials and foreign diplomats as Yemen tries to wrest back control of its south from Islamist fighters.

On Sunday, at least 10 fighters were killed in clashes with the Yemeni army near the southern city of Zinjibar and two apparent US drone attacks killed at least 10 suspected al-Qaeda-linked fighters on Saturday, officials said. 

Six fighters were killed on Saturday night in an air raid in Zinjibar, the defence ministry said in an online statement. 

Unidentified assailants hurled a hand grenade at the house of Ali al-Amrani, information minister, on Saturday.

One bystander was wounded in the foot during a shoot-out as the men escaped. On the same day, Bulgaria’s ambassador to Yemen also escaped a kidnap attempt in the capital Sanaa.

Source: News Agencies

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