Al Qaeda or Tribal Attack?

In another attack on oilfields that could send oil prices up again, a Yemeni tribe attacked an oil installation at Shabwah, about 136 miles Southeast of  Sanaa. 16 were killed total including six of the attacking tribesmen. Tribesmen from Bani Harith also took hostages, but those were freed during the fighting.

While the papers have it as related to lack of employment opportunites, there was also sabotage earlier in the week and this comes after Al Qaeda members were sentenced  Wednesday for plotting to attack oil installations. From IHT:

At least six government troops and six tribesmen were killed in a clash Thursday that followed the tribesmen’s attack on an oil installation in Yemen, a local official said.

It was the second attack on the country’s oil industry this week.

The clash took place in the Shabwa province, about 220 kilometers (136 miles) southeast of the Yemeni capital, San’a, when men from the Bani Harith clan attacked a Ukrainian-run oil field installation, the province’s governor, Mohammad Ali Ruwashan, said.

Ruwashan said six other persons were also wounded in the shootout, but it was not immediately clear how many among the wounded were government troops and how many were tribesmen.

Those killed included Yemeni Capt. Abdullah Allwan, commander of the installation’s guard unit…

…Al-Qaida militants have also been active in sabotage operations targeting oil pipelines and power stations in the country.

In June, Yemeni security arrested two men suspected of al-Qaida links who confessed to an unsuccessful attempt to blow up an oil pipeline with TNT near the port city of Aden.

Yemen produces 330,000 barrels of oil a day. In August, al-Qaida militants attacked a power station and a government building in Marib, causing a major power outage.

On Wednesday, a Yemeni court convicted 32 al-Qaida suspects of planning suicide attacks on oil and gas installations in the country in September 2006 and sentenced them to up to 15 years imprisonment