Publication Date: 
Fri, 2009-12-18 03:00

SANAA: Security forces backed by warplanes struck several Al-Qaeda hide-outs and training sites in Yemen on Thursday, killing up to 34 suspected militants, including would-be suicide bombers who planned attacks at home and abroad. At least 17 suspected militants were arrested.

The operations against Al-Qaeda in the Sana area and a southern province also led to the killing of some foreign militants, according to a government website.

Provincial security official Saleh El-Shamsy said airstrikes early on Thursday followed by a ground operation targeting a training camp in the southern Abyan province killed the suspected militants.

A security source told Reuters that the operation led to the foiling of an Al-Qaeda plan to hit foreign and local interests and schools. “Eight suicide bombers who were preparing explosive belts to carry out the plan were killed,” the source said.

Witnesses, meanwhile, said civilians were caught up in the offensive in Abyan. One witness, 33-year-old Mohammed Saleh Al-Kathimi, said seven bodies of women and children were recovered from the rubble.

The Interior Ministry said operations were carried out in areas outside Sana killing would-be suicide bombers.

The suicide bombers were in the Arhab district northeast of the capital.

Those arrested included another four would-be suicide bombers, one of whom was wounded in the fighting.

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