The Yemeni army on Friday recaptured Shaqra, al-Qaida's last stronghold in the southern province of Abyan. This marks a major advance in the country's fight against violent extremism on its soil.
This is the third stronghold to be reclaimed by the government during the past week. Residents of Shaqra flooded the streets in celebration, according to Reuters.
Under President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who assumed leadership in February after public outcry resulted in the ouster of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni government has struggled to suppress terrorist activities in the country. Widespread discontent, dire poverty and ongoing political conflicts have made the rugged southern provinces a haven for extremists associated with al-Qaida.
The U.S. has been working closely with the new Yemeni government to prevent the terrorist network from establishing a secure base of operations in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Yemeni army will now pursue another al-Qaida base in the neighboring province of Shabwa.