Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Yemen jets 'strike al-Qaeda cell killing six'

Saada map

Yemen has launched an air strike against a suspected al-Qaeda cell in the north of the country, killing six militants, the defence ministry says.

Officials said those killed included a senior figure in al-Qaeda in the country, named as Qassem al-Rimi.

He is believed to be al-Qaeda's military commander in Yemen.

A security official quoted by Reuters said: "Two cars carrying eight dangerous al-Qaeda members were hit... two may have survived and escaped."

The French news agency, AFP, quoted a senior official as saying the incident happened at Al-Ajashir, a desert region in the eastern part of Saada province.

In addition to Qassem al-Rimi, the official named three of the others who died as Ammar al-Waili, Ayedh al-Shabwani and Saleh al-Tais.

On Wednesday another al-Qaeda chief - Abdullah Mehdar - was reported killed in a gunfight when Yemeni security forces surrounded a house in Shabwa province.

Security operations against alleged militants were stepped up after a Yemen-based al-Qaeda group said it carried out the failed bomb attack on a US-bound airliner on 25 December.

Analysts say al-Qaeda militants have been moving to Yemen after coming under pressure in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and following a crackdown in Saudi Arabia.



SEE ALSO
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06 Jan 10 |  Middle East
Al-Qaeda's influence in Yemen
05 Jan 10 |  Middle East
Yemen country profile
07 Jun 11 |  Country profiles



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