ISIS is currently facing difficulties in maintaining its survival in Yemen, where it is exposed to military strikes by multiple forces seeking to defeat it in the country.
On November 24, 2021, the Saudi-led Arab coalition announced that it had carried out air strikes on ISIS sites in Shabwah Governorate in southeastern Yemen, killing 15 members of the organization and destroying three booby-trapped cars.
On November 18, 2021, the US Department of Defense confirmed that it had launched an air strike targeting the leader of ISIS in Yemen, known as Abu Othman al-Masry, in the Bir Ali district of Shabwah.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at the time that this strike came within the framework of the international coalition’s efforts to eliminate ISIS in the region.
On November 10, 2021, the coalition forces announced that they had evacuated 40 local fighters loyal to the legitimate government from the Yemeni island of Socotra after they were attacked by ISIS, adding that they had transferred the injured to a hospital in Hadramawt for treatment.
ISIS and the existential challenge
These strikes show the scale of the existential challenge that ISIS faces in Yemen, as it has tried to exploit the security and political vacuum in this conflict-torn country for the past eight years.
ISIS is trying to show its ability to launch sporadic attacks in Yemen to gain more popularity and loyalty among extremists and to take revenge on the forces fighting it.
On the other hand, the Yemeni government forces and the popular resistance continue to advance against ISIS on several fronts, especially in the governorates of Marib, Al-Jawf and Al-Bayda, while the terrorist organization is suffering heavy losses in lives and equipment, thanks to air and logistical support from the Saudi-led Arab coalition.
On July 5, the coalition command announced that it had carried out a qualitative military operation targeting a weapons and ammunition store belonging to ISIS in the Radaa district of Al-Bayda Governorate, which led to its complete destruction and the killing of a number of terrorists.
On July 2, Yemeni military sources reported that the army and resistance forces managed to liberate several strategic locations from ISIS control in the Hazm Al-Udayn district of Ibb Governorate, in the center of the country.
For his part, Yemeni political analyst Rageh Alwani said that there is no accurate count of the number of ISIS members in Yemen, but some estimates indicate that they do not exceed hundreds of terrorists, distributed among sleeping or active cells in some governorates, such as Al-Bayda, Hadramawt, Shabwah and Sanaa.
Alwani stressed that their weapons vary mainly between light and medium, such as rifles, grenades, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft missiles, and they also use booby-trapped cars and suicide bombers to carry out their attacks against government and coalition forces.