Suspected US drone kills two Yemeni Al-Qaeda men |
Arab News - 07 May, 2012
Two Yemeni members of Al-Qaeda were killed in their car by what appeared to be a US drone in the Wadi Rafad valley in Shabwa province in southern Yemen on Sunday, residents there and a spokesman for the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Al-Sharia group said.
One of the dead men was believed to be Fahd Al-Qasaa, who was convicted for a role in the 2000 bombing of USS Cole in the port of Aden - killing 17 US sailors - and who escaped from prison in 2005, and the other was Fahed Salem Al-Akdam, residents said.
The plane that fired the missile had been sighted in the sky, they said.
No one else was killed in the attack and no one else was traveling in the vehicle, the residents said.
A local government official in Shabwa confirmed the attack, and, separately, a statement from Al-Qaeda said, “Al Qaeda affirms the martyrdom of the Fahd Al-Qasaa in an American attack this afternoon in Rafad.”
The government website Septemeber 26 said that a third Al-Qaeda operative was arrested in Aden along with another man.
Yemen’s branch of Al-Qaeda, which has plotted abortive overseas attacks from the country, has been a major worry for Washington, which is waging an assassination campaign against alleged members of the group using drone and missile strikes.
The United States wants Yemen’s new president — who took office after a year of mass protests against his predecessor saw Yemen’s military split into warring factions — to unify the armed forces and use them to fight the militant Islamist group.
A group linked to Al-Qaeda seized chunks of territory in south Yemen during the uprising against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a staunch US ally, and killed about 100 Yemeni troops in a single attack near one of those areas in March.
The use of drones has been controversial in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Washington is also fighting Al-Qaeda-linked groups. It is seen by residents as a form of extra-judicial execution that also endangers people not directly targetted.
A Yemeni official said earlier on Sunday that two Belgian nationals of Arab descent could be deported after being detained last month on suspicion of involvement in militant activities.
He said Named as Ebrahim Bali and Ezzeddine Tuhairi were detained on April 13 at Sanaa’s airport as they tried to enter the country.
“They were arrested on suspicion of planned terrorist activities in Yemen. We are in a process of negotiation with the Belgian government. We expect them to be deported...within days,” the official said.
A Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the two men were being held over suspected involvement in “terrorist” activity, and said Brussels was seeking consular access to them.