Earlier today, Ansar al-Sharia confirmed it has withdrawn from the city of Mukalla which was formerly considered the capital of al-Qaeda in Yemen.
However, the Islamist group said it had only lost a handful of fighters during the battle as their forces retreated to avoid destruction of the city.
Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition which backs the Hadi-government based in Aden said 800 al-Qaeda fighters were killed during the capture of the city.
“We only withdrew to prevent the enemy from moving the battle to your homes, markets, roads and mosques,” Ansar al-Sharia said in a rare statement.
Around 2,000 Yemeni and Emirati troops captured Mukalla in just a few hours last Sunday as their troops meet little to no resistance.
The Hadi government’s blitz offensive in southern Yemen is a shift in strategy for the Saudi-led coalition forces, which for over a year has focused its firepower on the Houthis who have seized the capital Sanaa and driven the government into exile.