U.S. pulling last of its Special Operations forces out of Yemen

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SANAA, Yemen — The U.S. military is in the process of evacuating about 100 Special Operations forces members from the Al Anad airbase in Yemen due to that country’s deteriorating security situation, sources in the region familiar with the situation told CNN.

Those being evacuated are the last American troops stationed in the Arab nation, which is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist group also known as AQAP. The United States closed its embassy in Sanaa last month, after Houthi rebels took over the Yemeni capital.

For years, the U.S. military has worked closely with Yemen’s government to go after AQAP though that cooperation has been beset by troubles. These include the rise of the Houthis, their battles with forces loyal to ousted President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and the presence of not only al Qaeda fighters but other militants.

On Friday, for instance, ISIS purportedly claimed responsibility for bombings at two mosques in what, if true, would mark that group’s first large-scale attack in Yemen.

Those blasts killed at least 137 people and wounded 357 others, according to Yemen’s state-run Saba news agency.
Journalist Hakim Almasmari reported from Sanaa. CNN’s Barbara Starr reported from Washington, and CNN’s Greg Botelho reported and wrote from Atlanta.