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April 5, 2003
 
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Yemen Arrests Suspected al-Qaida Member
Yemen Arrests Suspected al-Qaida Member Named in Year-Old FBI Terror Alert That Warned of Potential Attacks

The Associated Press


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SAN`A, Yemen April 5

A suspected al-Qaida member named in a year-old FBI terror alert was one of 11 arrested in Yemen last week, police said Saturday.

Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeei was one of 17 people linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida group in a February 2002 FBI alert that warned of a potential attack on the United States or against U.S. interests in Yemen.

He was arrested March 28 with 10 others in the northern province of Marib, said a police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The arrests involved a helicopter-chase 100 miles northeast of the capital, San`a.

Al-Rabeei, also known as Furqan, is believed to be a Yemeni national born in Saudi Arabia in 1979.

U.S. officials have said al-Rabeei is believed to have ties to al-Qaida but is not linked to the October 2000 attack against the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden, in which 17 U.S. sailors were killed.

Yemeni officials said on Tuesday at least two of the 11 arrested were on the government's most wanted list.

The other most wanted suspect, whose name was not released, is believed to be involved in a November attack on a helicopter that injured two employees of Hunt Oil company, as well as explosions in Yemen last year that were claimed by al-Qaida supporters.

Yemen had long tolerated Muslim extremists, but after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, it committed itself to joining the war on terrorism and has allowed American forces to train its military in combatting terrorists.

In November, a CIA Predator drone fired a missile at a car in Yemen that was carrying several suspected al-Qaida operatives, killing Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, bin Laden's top operative in that country. It was the first such operation outside Afghanistan.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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