After about 300 gunmen allegedly loyal to al Qaeda captured the Yemeni coastal city of Zinjibar, Yemeni forces struck back Sunday, shelling the capital of the southern province of Abyan. The militants took over government institutions there, and had been driving around the city in cars with loudspeakers blaring: “We declare that Zinjibar fell in the hands of mujahideen after it was liberated from the agents of the Americans,” a security official told The New York Times. Protesters and members of the Yemen opposition claim Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh gave over Zinjibar to the militants with the belief that increased chaos will keep him in office. “Saleh instructed to handover Zinjibar to armed groups working for him to frighten others that if he is gone, Yemen will become Somalia,” said former minister of defense Abdullah Ali Eliwa, in a televised press statement.
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