Aden: Suspected al Qaeda militants blew up an oil pipeline in Yemeni southeastern province of Shabwa early Thursday, a security official told Xinhua.
The al Qaeda assailants sabotaged the pipeline carrying oil from Shabwa province to the maritime export terminal of Belhaf on the Arabian Sea, causing a huge blast in the region, the local security official said on condition of anonymity.
The blast targeted the frequently-attacked pipeline in Mafraq al-Sa`id district in restive Shabwa province, the official said.
Army troops in charge of guarding oil fields in Shabwa have been deployed, as engineers began to assess the damage, according to the security source.
Local residents near the scene confirmed to Xinhua that they saw smoke rising from the area following the powerful explosion and the fire was still blazing.
The al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is based in southern Yemen, has been fighting Yemeni government forces for months. A month-long offensive by the Yemeni army drove the militants out of their hideouts in June, while the terrorist network has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on the oil and gas pipelines in retaliation for the "continuing US drone strikes."
The AQAP group, mainly entrenching itself in Yemen``s southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, is on the terrorist list of the United States, which considers it as an increasing threat to its national security.