Sanaa: Al Qaeda fighters have agreed to withdraw from the central Yemeni city of Rada, which they seized a week ago, a military source said.
"Tribal mediation carried out by Sheikh Hashed Fadhl al-Qawsi succeeded, after three days of talks, to convince the armed al-Qaeda men to leave Rada," a senior official told reporters.
"Members of al-Qaeda began evacuating public buildings
that they had occupied" after having taken the town on
January 16, the source said yesterday.
"They are leaving the location without resistance" he
added without specifying what the militants had received in
Al-Qaeda militants swept into Rada last week and overran it within hours, marking a significant advance by the extremists towards the capital.
The takeover of Rada, 130 kilometres (80 miles) southeast
of Sanaa, was the latest in a series of towns and cities --
until now deeper in the south and east -- to fall as al-Qaeda
takes advantage of a central government weakened by months of
Sources in the town had said more than 1,000 al-Qaeda
gunmen invaded Rada, which is within striking distance of a
strategic highway connecting Sanaa with the south and
Al-Qaeda-linked militants already control a string of
towns in Abyan, Shabwa and Marib provinces, but Rada is the
closest they have come to the capital.
The strong jihadist presence in Yemen made President Ali
Abdullah Saleh a key ally in Washington`s "war on terror"
before the Arab spring uprisings sparked a wave of protests
against his regime that he countered with deadly violence.