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News Analysis: Al-Qaida in Yemen refuses to admit defeat despite devastating blows

(Xinhua)

14:35, May 23, 2012

• Al-Qaida in Yemen showed it is still capable of resisting divided army through Monday's attack.
• Over the recent weeks, AQAP has received devastating blows.
• Experts said it is early to talk about an end to militancy or al-Qaida in the country.


SANAA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Yemen has expanded the military operations against al-Qaida militants in the south in the past two weeks, killing hundreds of them, including senior leaders, and retaking areas in Abyan province. However, the terrorist group launched a deadly suicide bombing attack on the eve of Yemen's National Day in retaliation, showing that it is still capable of resisting the divided army.

At least 90 soldiers were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the suicide bombing during a military rehearsal parade in Yemen's capital of Sanaa early Monday morning.

Over the recent weeks, the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ( AQAP), which has been described as the most dangerous terrorist group in the world, has received devastating blows, but experts said it is early to talk about an end to militancy or al-Qaida in the country.

Nabil al-Bukairy, a researcher specializing in the Islamic groups, said restoring the sovereignty of the political decision and addressing the military and security disorders are key factors to eradicate al-Qaida in Yemen.

Muhammad Saif Haider, a researcher of terrorism issues, said eradicating militancy is bound to some factors topped by political and economic stability and imposing state influence across the country. "The more the government affirms its legitimacy and influence, the weaker al-Qaida becomes," he said.

"What is happening right now in the south indicates to one thing: the new government is very serious to eradicate terrorism," he said.

What will really help to put an end to militancy here should include a good management of the counterterrorism efforts and addressing security and military disorders such as the spread of weapons and presence of different armed groups in the country, he argued.

The government forces has seen remarkable gains in the past several months, including killing and arresting senior leaders of the group, isolating the militants from the communities, and pushing ahead to prevent them from taking a breath. However, analysts said, these gains never imply that al-Qaida is dying.

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