Yemen: Al-Qaeda plot foiled

2013-08-07 21:04
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Sana'a - Yemeni authorities foiled an al-Qaeda plot to seize control of two cities and an oil export terminal and to kidnap foreigners, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"The main aim of the plot was to seize control of two cities, Al-Mukalla and Ghayl Bawazeer" in the southeast, Rajeh Badi told AFP, adding that oil export facilities near Mukalla were also to be targeted.

Foreigners working at the terminal were to be kidnapped as well, he said.

He said that the Mina al-Dhaba oil terminal west of Mukalla, and a nearby export facility for oil derivatives, were to be targeted by militants disguised in army uniforms.

"They would demonstrate pretending to be guards demanding bonuses... and then storm the port," he said.

"If they were to fail in seizing control of the facilities, the plan was to take foreign experts away as hostages," he said.

The attack was planned for the 27th day of Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims, which coincided with Monday, 5 August.

The plot was foiled around two days before it was due to be launched, Badi said.

Another thwarted plot was to attack a main gas pipeline in the southern province of Shabwa, that would cut exports of liquefied gas from the Balhaf terminal southwest of Mukalla, Badi said.

Militants also plotted to attack a "couple of banks", Badi said, without specifying where.

The Yemeni revelation was the first indication of the nature of the al-Qaeda threat that prompted the mass closures of US diplomatic missions in the region and farther afield from Sunday.

Washington has closed 19 embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa, citing intercepted communications among militants, reportedly including an attack order from al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

While the closures span cities across the Arab world, the focus of concern has been Yemen, where American forces are fighting a drone war against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the jihadist network's feared local affiliate.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  ayman al-zawahiri  |  yemen
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