Yemeni police arrest 6 alleged Al-Qaida militants

AP , Tuesday 13 Dec 2011

Military officials in Yemen claim 'Al-Qaeda' leader is among six detained militants that were planning attacks on govt, diplomatic missions

SABA, Yemen's official news agency, quoted an unnamed security official as saying that the leader of “Al-Qaeda” in the eastern Yemeni province of Al-Jawf, Musaed Mohammed Ahmed Al-Barbari, was among six arrested militants. It said police seized explosives meant for attacks.

A US airstrike in Al-Jawf province on 30 September killed two US-born Al-Qaeda activists – cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, an activist who edited Al-Qaeda's Internet magazine. Militants allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda have taken advantage of months of internal political turmoil to solidify their positions in Yemen's south.

Also Tuesday, an Interior Ministry spokesman said that the new minister, Abdul-Qader Qahtan, had ordered the release of all protesters who were arrested in demonstrations that called for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

The exact number of detainees was not known, but opposition groups have put it in the hundreds.

A national unity government took office in Yemen on Saturday, a step toward restoring order in a nation torn by nine months of protests. After months of delays, last month Saleh signed a deal to hand over power by 23 December.

In the southern city of Taiz, a security official said two protesters had been wounded by police fire when thousands of demonstrators tried to reach a hotel where ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council and European ambassadors were holding talks on the situation in Taiz. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with security rules.

Protesters wanted the ambassadors to inspect the places they say were bombed by the military, visit hospitals to talk to wounded people and meet with families of the victims. The ambassadors earlier met with the Taiz governor and military commanders and are planning talks with opposition groups.

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