Yemeni security forces arrested six suspected al Qaeda militants in al Jawf Tuesday. The suspects included Musaed Mohammed Ahmed al Barbari, Mohamed Hussein Musayyib, Mohammad Abdulkadir Ahmed al Shihri, Nader Ahmed Mohamed al Qubati, Mohamed Muthana Ali al Amari, and Abdul Munaim Hamid Ali Abu Ghanem. The six were accused of planning to assassinate senior government officials and carry out attacks on foreign targets in Yemen, as well as recruiting for Ansar al Sharia, the al Qaeda-linked organization in Abyan governorate. Barbari has been accused of heading the January 19, 2009 attack on Sana’a International Airport. Barbari, also known as Abu Maqdad, had been acquitted of charges that he was planning to attack Western businesses in Yemen in 2006. Barbari, according to a Yemeni statement, became al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s leader in al Jawf.
Al Qaeda-linked militants attacked a Yemeni military patrol near an army barrack in Zinjibar Monday. At least three soldiers were killed and 11 others injured. A Kuwaiti newspaper reported that al Qaeda-linked militants in Abyan executed at least 20 people accused of spying for the U.S. and amputated the hands of 16 people charged of theft.
Yemeni security forces fired on protesters in Taiz Tuesday. A Yemeni official reported that the protesters were attempting to march on a hotel where five UN Security Council and European ambassadors were holding talks. Two people were injured.
Yemen’s Interior Minister, Abdul Qadir Qahtan, ordered the release of protesters who had been arrested over the course of the Arab Spring. Yemeni activists have reported that the number, which is unknown, could be as high as 1,400 protesters. The UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, met with al Houthi leaders and Fares Manaa, the governor of Sa’ada, to seek their cooperation with the new government. Separately, Saudi Arabia pledged to assist Yemen by filling its oil needs and providing other goods.
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