3 Qaeda suspects plotting south Yemen attack killed in raid


Yemeni forces killed three suspected Al-Qaeda militants in a raid on their hideout in Aden, foiling a major plot to blow up targets in the restive southern port city, a security official said on Tuesday.
“We raided a house in the Mansoura district… clashes broke out, three Qaeda operatives were killed and four members of the security forces were wounded,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Tuesday’s operation “foiled several terror attacks that were going to be carried out in the coming hours,” he added.
Two vehicles packed with explosives and three suicide belts were discovered at the hideout, the official said, without giving further details.
One of the operatives killed in the operation was a Somali national. A fourth Al-Qaeda suspect was arrested, the official added.
Yemen’s ministry of defense released a statement on its website confirming the raid, saying it was carried out by a “special unit composed of both army and security forces.
“The clashes continued for at least two hours and left three of Al-Qaeda’s most dangerous operatives dead,” said the statement.
Citing another unnamed security official, the statement said “large quantities of a variety of different explosives were found in most rooms of the house,” described as an “Al-Qaeda explosives workshop” and a “base for planning and organizing attacks.”
Mansoura residents meanwhile said they were woken at dawn by the sounds of clashes and gunfire.
One resident who asked to remain anonymous told AFP that he saw three bodies lying on the street in front of the house believed to have been rented by members of Al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda, who took advantage of the weakness of Yemen’s central government in the 2011 protests against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, is believed to have infiltrated Mansoura.
Until recently, the militants held large swathes of territory in the neighboring southern Abyan province, but after a month-long government offensive that ended in June, most have fled to the more lawless desert regions of the east.
Though weakened, the militants continue to launch hit and run attacks on government and civilian targets throughout the country.
Last week, an Al-Qaeda suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to a hospital in Abyan, wounding 11 people.
The apparent target of the attack was a local leader, Mohammed Aydarus, formerly of the Popular Resistance Committees, a reserve force which backed the offensive against Al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda loyalists have also carried out a spate of deadly attacks against army and intelligence officials, including a suicide attack earlier this year that killed General Salem Ali Qoton, the man charged with destroying Al-Qaeda’s presence in Yemen.