Al-Qaeda Storms Yemen Town
Opposition accuses Saleh of giving Qaeda a green light
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 16, 2012 9:31 AM CST
A general view of Radaa city, south east of Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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(Newser) – Al-Qaeda militants have taken control of another town in Yemen, in yet another power grab in a country rocked by protests. With President Ali Abdullah Saleh due to hand over power this month (though he may not leave Yemen), opposition figures are accusing him of letting the group seize the city of Radda in order to demonstrate that Yemen needs him to fend off the militant threat, the AP reports. Al-Qaeda members killed two soldiers and wounded one as some 200 militants poured into the city, reportedly carrying grenades and automatic weapons.

The militants have barred residents from exiting or entering Radda as they freed some 150 to 200 inmates at a local prison, some of them Qaeda supporters. The fighters grabbed weapons and vehicles in the onslaught, which forced shops and schools to shut their doors. Tribal leaders suggested Saleh had given the militants the "green light." "We are surprised by the silence of the security forces," noted an opposition activist. "They have not moved, which only means that this is all arranged to spark chaos." Radda, approximately 100 miles south of Sanaa, is one of several Yemeni towns seized by al-Qaeda since last year.