ISIS Capitalizes On Yemen’s Chaos

Mar 23, 2015 at 1:02 PM ET

As the international community urges all sides in Yemen’s conflict to step back from the brink, ISIS is seizing an opportunity to claim its own stake in the battle, declaring that it has seized disputed territory.

The area, which the group has labeled “Lahej Province,” is located in southern Yemen between the second and third most populated cities, Aden on the coast and Taiz further inland. An offshoot of ISIS last week claimed responsibility for two attacks against Yemeni security forces in the southern city of Hawta. Graphic images from the attacks were posted online, along with a new regional logo, which mimics the iconography used by ISIS provinces in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt. The group has already laid claim to another area in Yemen, which it named “Sanaa Province.”

While the new ISIS branch boasts it was behind the Hawta terror attacks, the already established ISIS offshoot–the Sanaa province–took responsibility for last Friday’s deadly suicide attacks in two mosques in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, which killed 137 worshippers and wounded hundreds others.

Translation: “Lahij Province, Sanaa Province, … Province. The provinces are growing. The list is no longer enough.”

Shiite rebels staged a coup last week against the Yemeni President, taking over the capital city and steadily moving towards the port of Aden. Reports say fighters have already captured the airport in Taiz.

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Houthis Close In On Major Yemeni City (Vocativ)