December 16, 2014: Children killed in Yemen bombing

On December 16, 2014 AQAP detonated two car bombs in Radaa, a city in Yemen’s central province of al-Bayda, killing 25 people.

AL RADA, YEMEN – It is not always so easy to tell who’s who in the zoo when it comes to terrorism.

You would think after all this time that we would have gotten terrorism figured out, eh? I mean, 9/11 was 20 years ago and we have seen an explosion (um, maybe not the best term!) of studies, books, (self-styled) experts and what not weigh in on what terrorism is (and what it isn’t). As a consequence, the debate should be over, right?

Far from it.

Contrarily, we are maybe further away than ever from any consensus on what exactly constitutes an act of terrorism. Arguments continue to wage on many fronts as proponents establish their positions and push back against those from the other side. A good example would be whether violent ‘incels’ (involuntary celibates) are terrorists: for the record I do not think they are (to my mind they are violent misogynists, not terrorists, but many take issue with my stance, some vehemently!).

Take what is happening in Yemen, a nation beset with civil war, famine and all around misery in the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula. To some, the Houthis, a Shia Islamic group that has taken over much of the country, is a terrorist group: Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have both sent forces in to help the ousted Sunni government in 2015, certainly see it as such.

And yet, there is another terrorist group operating in Yemen with which we are all more familiar: Al Qaeda (the branch in Yemen is called Al Qaeda in Yemen/Al Qaeda in the Arabian PeninsulaAQAP).

On this day in 2014

AQAP detonated two car bombs in Radaa, a city in Yemen’s central province of al-Bayda, killing 25 people. The first car bomb exploded near a checkpoint manned by Houthis while a school bus was passing, killing 15 students while the second exploded near the house of an official in the area rumored to support Houthis killing ten.

The ugliest crime against childhood.

Houthi statement

So let’s get this straight. A known terrorist organisation linked to the one responsible for 9/11 kills members of a group some also see as terrorist in nature. Terrorists killing terrorists? Or something else? The controversy goes on…

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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