Yemeni security forces captured three Al-Qaeda suspects on Wednesday as British and French embassies reopen in the capital after few days of closure over security concerns.

The three militants were wounded on Monday in clashes with Yemeni security forces during a raid to arrest Mohammad al-Hanaq, an Al-Qaeda leader, in Arhab district, northern Sana’a, state-run Saba news agency reported. The suspects were arrested at a hospital in al-Reida directorate, Amran governorate, north of Sana’a, alongside with four people who helped them to be transported to hospital for treatment, the report said.

The Interior Ministry reiterated a warning against sheltering any terrorist elements or providing them with assistance, the report quoted a statement as saying.

Meanwhile, British and French embassies resumed operations, following a similar move by the U.S. mission after security concerns have eased, local News Yemen website reported.

“The British Embassy has reopened, but public services remain closed [visa and consular services],” a statement by the British mission said. Yet, the statement said the situation will be “assessed on a daily basis.” The U.S. and British embassies closed on Sunday, citing security concerns after Yemen’s Al-Qaeda offshoot vowed to target U.S. and Western interests in the country. A day later, the French mission followed suit.

The United States reopened its embassy on Tuesday, citing successful crackdown by Yemeni forces against Al-Qaeda elements in Arhab district.

Yemen’s Interior Ministry, for its part, assured that all foreign missions and interests in the country are safe, pointing out that security measures around embassies and foreigners’ residences had been beefed up.

Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Yemen’s branch of the terrorist group, have vowed recently to retaliate for deadly strikes against their hideouts last month in the southern province of Abyan and Arhab district, to the northeast of Sana’a.

While Sana’a said the raids were conducted by Yemeni troops, the group blamed the United States and vowed to target U.S. interests in the country.

The AQAP also claimed responsibility for a foiled Christmas Day attempt to bomb a U.S. aircraft. Umar Abdulmuttallab, a 23-year- old Nigerian, told FBI he was in Yemen six months before the attempt to blow up the flight to Detroit.


Sharper focus on security January 5, 2010

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