Eleven al-Qaida suspects arrested

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

SAN'A, Yemen -- Eleven people with suspected links to the al-Qaida terror network -- including two of the government's most-wanted terror suspects -- have been arrested in various parts of Yemen, a security official said Tuesday.

The 11 suspects were arrested throughout Yemen on Friday and now are detained in the intelligence prison in the capital, San'a, the official said on condition of anonymity.

An Interior Ministry bulletin said Tuesday that two men wanted by the government were arrested last week, but further details were not available.

The arrests came amid tightened security in Yemen following the outbreak of the war in Iraq and U.S. warnings of possible terror attacks on American interests in Yemen.

Security has been stepped up around the American, British and Kuwait embassies in San'a.

Yemen has seen almost daily protests -- some violent -- since the Iraq war began March 20. The next day, three people were shot dead and dozens more were wounded when police clashed with about 30,000 demonstrators near the U.S. Embassy.

The U.S. State Department renewed its travel warning to Yemen last week and authorized the voluntary departure of nonessential personnel at its embassy and family members.

Yemen long had tolerated Muslim extremists but, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States, it allowed American forces to train its military in combatting terrorists.

Al-Qaida has been blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks and at least two terror attacks in Yemen, including the October 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

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