BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 19 September, 2002, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
US forces 'not headed to Yemen'
Yemeni tank
Yemeni forces are receiving anti-terrorist training
US diplomatic officials have denied that American forces are massing near the coast of Yemen in preparation for operations against al-Qaeda elements thought to be inside the country.

However the Pentagon has confirmed that about 800 US military personnel have been stationed in Djibouti, across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen.

The staff deployed to Djibouti, including special forces and CIA operatives, have been there for some time, US officials say.

The Yemeni Government has denied it will allow US troops to take part in any operations on its territory.

A spokesman at the US embassy in Sanaa said there was no truth in reports that US special forces were massing on the coast, but that US military advisers and other operatives are in Yemen training Yemeni counter-terrorism forces.

The BBC's Pentagon correspondent Nick Childs says it is thought the US forces have been moved to Djibouti for possible operations in the region to hunt down al-Qaeda fighters.

'No ground troops'

However it is far from clear how imminent any such new US mission might be, our correspondent says.

USS Cole
Al-Qaeda attacked the USS Cole in Yemen
Apart from the Djibouti contingent, there is also a large US amphibious assault ship, equipped with helicopters, which might be used in any such operations.

It also has additional US marines aboard. The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has been looking into the possibility of US special forces taking on a bigger and more active role in the global hunt for al-Qaeda.

The speaker of Yemen's parliament and the leader of the nation's tribes Sheikh Abdullah Al-Achmar, said Yemen does not oppose US military trainers but would not accept US troops on the ground.

Suspects held

The Omani Government has recently handed over 12 suspected al-Qaeda members to Yemen, the Yemen Observer newspaper is to report on Saturday.

The suspects are said to be Yemeni citizens who were trying to return home after fighting in Afghanistan.

The Yemeni Government is currently holding about 200 people suspected of having links to al-Qaeda.

Some of their families today petitioned Yemen's parliament to set them free, arguing the suspects are being held without due cause.


Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

15 Sep 02 | South Asia
15 Jul 02 | Americas
04 Sep 02 | Americas
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes