Sunday, March 13, 2005

IoS: SAS Squadron operating in Yemen

The Independent on Sunday reports that a Squadron of SAS has been stationed in Yemen since last summer:
"No British special forces are believed to have been involved in the search for al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan since before the Iraq invasion. But The Independent on Sunday has learnt that since last summer a squadron of the SAS has been stationed in Yemen, Bin Laden's birthplace. They are working alongside local security forces against al-Qa'ida, which draws support and numerous recruits from Yemen.

The 50 SAS soldiers, about a quarter of the regiment's strength, are believed to have been involved in firefights with terrorists in Yemen, although no British soldiers are thought to have been injured or killed in the operation. The regiment has long experience in Yemen, where it fought against guerrillas in the 1960s. It was also deployed there in a search for Bin Laden in late 2002.

A source close to the SAS said: "Just think how much demand there is on the regiment at the moment, especially for Arabic speakers in Iraq and elsewhere. That gives you an idea of how important Yemen must have become in the hunt for Bin Laden."
This is very interesting if true, especially if you remember this post regarding the continuing flights by Viktor Bout's Irbis Ar Co. to Riyan Mukalla in the Yemen. If you recall, there's a huge (Heathrow-sized) runway and not much else there, except for three Irbis Il-18 flights a day from Sharjah. What on earth is going on there?

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