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Last Updated:  Saturday, 5 April, 2003, 20:36 GMT 21:36 UK
Yemen seizes al-Qaeda suspect
Al-Qaeda suspect Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeei
The FBI issued an alert on al-Rabeei last year
The Yemeni authorities have arrested a man suspected by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation of being a member of the al-Qaeda network.

Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeei - a Yemeni national thought to have been born to Yemeni parents in Saudi Arabia - was one of several men named in an alert by the FBI last year over attacks al-Qaeda were suspected of planning against US interests in Yemen.

He and at least one other man were arrested last month in a large-scale search operation backed by helicopters in the northern province of Marib, 160 kilometres (100 miles) north-east of the capital Sanaa, government and police sources said.

However news of his arrest was only made public on Saturday.

Another man arrested is suspected of involvement in a November attack on a helicopter belonging to US company Hunt Oil shortly after it took off from Sanaa airport, in which one US man was slightly injured.

Clamping down

The FBI had issued an alert on Mr al-Rabeei based on intelligence gathered from al-Qaeda operatives and members of Afghanistan's former Taleban Government currently in US detention in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Since the 11 September 2001 attacks, Yemen has been clamping down on suspected al-Qaeda members in an attempt to counter allegations of being a haven for Islamic militants.

The US believes al-Qaeda members went into hiding in Yemen after the collapse of the Taleban.

In November last year, six al-Qaeda suspects were killed in Yemen when the car they were travelling in was blown up by a rocket from an unmanned aircraft operated by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

One of those killed was Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, also known as Abu Ali, a major suspect in an attack bombing two years ago on the US warship USS Cole in a Yemeni port that left 17 US sailors dead.

Al-Qaeda has also been blamed for an attack on the French tanker Limburg last October.

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