Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Friday, 20 February 2009

Yemeni Jews airlifted to Israel

Said Ben Yisrael and family on arrival in Tel Aviv
At one time many thousands of Jews lived in Yemen

A group of 10 Yemeni Jews has been taken to Israel in a secret airlift.

The quasi-governmental Jewish Agency for Israel said it had organised the operation through clandestine channels, but declined to say how.

It said the Jews had been threatened in Yemen by militants associated with al-Qaeda, and were now, as it put it, coming home to safety.

There were once tens of thousands of Jews in Yemen, but after several waves of emigration fewer than 300 remain.

Among the Yemeni Jews who arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv were Said Ben Yisrael, the head of the Jewish community in Raydah, which is home to all but 50 of the Jews who remaining in Yemen.

Eight members of his family were also among the new arrivals, according to the Jewish Agency.

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