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Operation Blow to the Head was a Yemeni military operation against the militants in the insurgent Yemeni town of Sa'dah in the Saada Governorate. The Yemeni government troops began trying to capture the town on 13 January 2010. On that day, the Islamic militant Abdullah Mehdar was killed by Yemeni security forces.[2]

Operation Blow to the Head
Part of Shia insurgency in Yemen (Operation Scorched Earth), Yemeni al-Qaeda crackdown
Sa'dah 02.jpg
The mud house in Sa'dah.
Date13 January–12 February 2010
(4 weeks and 2 days)
16°59′09″N 43°45′52″E / 16.985833°N 43.764444°E / 16.985833; 43.764444
Result Cease-fire[1]

Ansar Allah

al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Commanders and leaders
Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh
Yemen Ali Raymi

Abdul-Malik al-Houthi

Abdullah Mehdar  
Casualties and losses
unknown 24 killed
25 captured
Operation Blow to the Head is located in Yemen
Operation Blow to the Head
Location within Yemen

Region insurgencyEdit

In June 2004, insurgency returned in Yemen.[3] The Yemeni government allegedly received help from the United States in controlling the insurgent force. From June to August 2004, Houthis battled with the Yemeni government under Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi. Hussein was killed in the insurgency by September.[4] His brother, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi took over command over the insurgents, and leads them today. The allies launched Operation Scorched Earth, but the rebels agreed to a short truce on 12 February 2010.[1]


The Yemeni government troops led a military operation against the insurgent town of Sa'dah. Abdullah Mehdar led the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula insurgents against the government troops. Other Islamic rebels also fought against the Yemeni troops, with the fighting destroying much of the old Sa'dah city.[citation needed] Many buildings were reduced to rubble. Mehdar was killed in a gunfight with security forces on the opening day of the conflict. 15 Houthis were killed in the next two days in the operation. On 19 January 2010, several rebels were killed by government forces in raids on Houthi hideouts in the old corner of the north. About 25 rebels were reported captured by the Yemeni government.[2] The operation ended after a truce was declared by both sides on 12 February 2010.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Middle East - North Yemen calm after truce". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  2. ^ a b "Leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen 'killed in gun battle'". Daily Mail. London. January 13, 2010.
  3. ^ Hill, Ginny (February 5, 2007). "Yemen fears return of insurgency". BBC News.
  4. ^ "Profile: Yemen's Houthi fighters - Middle East - Al Jazeera English". Al Jazeera. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2011.