UAE troops storm into besieged Yemen city

Filed on April 25, 2016 | Last updated on April 25, 2016 at 01.40 am

Losing Mukalla would take away the Al Qaeda's main source of revenue, which has enabled it to thrive for over a year.

Yemeni and UAE troops advanced into the southern port city of Mukalla on Sunday, officials and residents said, entering a stronghold of Al Qaeda's Yemeni wing for the first time in over a year of war.

Fighter jets from the mostly Gulf Arab alliance pounded the city on Sunday and killed 30 militants, residents said, as the military coalition ramped up an offensive to wrest swathes of southern Yemen from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Mukalla has been the centre of a rich mini-state that Al Qaeda built up over the past year as it took control of an almost 600km band of Arabian Sea coastline and pocketed customs revenues from the port.

Losing Mukalla would take away the AQAP's main source of revenue, which has enabled it to thrive for over a year, but the alliance offensive appeared too strong for it to withstand.

"The liberation of Mukalla from the hands of the Al Qaeda terrorist organisation has begun," local governor Ahmed Saeed bin Breik said in a statement.

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