Yemen has detained 29 suspected Al Qaeda members to foil attacks on oil facilities and foreign interests including the British embassy, the country’s national security chief Ali Mohammad Al-Ansi (pic) said on Monday 12/28/2009. According to him, the pre-emptive strikes at al-Qaeda in the south and north proved that “Yemen has not been and never will be a safe haven for Al Qaeda.

He made these comments after Washington said the Nigerian Umar Abdulmutallab, who tried to explode inside an American passenger jet, Flight-253, on Christmas Day claimed he got help from Al Qaeda activists in Yemen. However, Mr. Ali Al-Ansi made no comment on the attempted Christmas Day bombing.

According to Reuters, Mr. Ali Al-Ansi said that Al Qaeda had been planning to attack Yemeni government institutions as well as the UK embassy in Sanaa. “Until now 29 persons have been arrested and authorities are still following up and pursuing the remaining terrorists,” he said in the remarks published on Monday.

The Yemeni security chief added the government raids in Abyan (see – Abyan 12.17.09), Sana’a and Shabwa were successful and thwarted big terrorist plots. Thus, Ali Al-Ansi also criticized the media over dealing with the strikes, urging accuracy and correct information about the security affairs in the country.  A total of 64 suspects were killed and 29 suspects were arrested. In the operations in Abyan and Sana’a, the number of the dead was 34 and the arrested were 29. In the second operation, the Shabwa Air-Strike, about 30 terrorist suspects were killed, he conveyed.

Also on Monday senior USA official, Senator Joe Liberman, admitted that USA Special Forces are operating in Yemen for some time helping to train the Yemeni elite forces and to track down Al Qaeda. 
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