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Ansar al-Sharia

Also known as Jama'at Ansar al-Shari'a, Ansar al-Sharia is a Yemen-based militant Islamic umbrella organisation including various groups such as al-Qaeda. The United States' State Department officially considers the unit as an offshoot of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Their name means 'Partisans of Islamic Law' in Arabic, and they were originally set up by AQAP to counter the peaceful pro-democracy youth movement that emerged in Yemen in opposition to pro-Sharia law Salafi-jihadists. After the Battle of Zinjibar which led to the abdication of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in November 2011, they controlled several towns in Southern Yemen, particularly in the Abyan region, for 14 months before being driven out by US troops.

The group aims to promote Sharia law in areas under AQAP control, espousing a model of rule used by the Taliban in Afghanistan as well as the Islamic State of Iraq.

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