Border Guards Kill ‘al-Qaeda Terrorists Dressed as Veiled Women’
Women in conservative Yemen often pass through checkpoints without being searched. Because of this, terrorists have taken to dressing as women complete with burka and face scarves to avoid detection. But last week, several suspected al-Qaeda terrorists, disguised as fully veiled women, were reportedly shot dead by Yemeni security forces near the Saudi border.
The terrorists were killed after one of them opened fire on a soldier who was checking their vehicle, officials say. One report quoting a Yemeni official said three terrorists were killed – while another put the number at five. The Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda has been exploiting recent instability in the country to seize remote areas to the south and east.
The local Al-Qaeda group, AQAP, is considered by the United States as the deadliest branch of the global jihadist network despite its remote location. The group is blamed for several attempted attacks on Western targets.
The terrorist’s vehicle was stopped at a border crossing in the Hawdh area of northern Yemen, according to Yemeni security officials. One of the terrorists reportedly opened fire on a soldier who tried to enter the vehicle, slightly injuring him. Officials say that the soldier shot and killed all three terrorists. The driver of the vehicle, who was also injured, is said to have confessed that he and his passengers were al-Qaeda members on a mission to attack Saudi border guards.
There is some conflict in the reports of the incident. The AFP news agency quotes officials as saying that the vehicle had been carrying five al-Qaeda suspects, all of whom were wearing the niqab, a veil used by Yemeni women to cover their faces. “As one of the soldiers climbed on board the bus for an inspection, one of the suspects opened fire and wounded him, prompting shooting from other soldiers at the checkpoint,” a government official told the agency.
Al-Qaeda terrorists are active on both sides of the Yemeni-Saudi border. Six security officers were killed in an attack on a Yemeni border post in July. Yemen has remained unstable since anti-government protests in 2011 forced the then-President Ali Abdallah Saleh from office.