U.S. sanctions AQAP leaders

May 12, 2010 at 2:40 PM

WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- The addition of Yemeni al-Qaida leaders to a sanctions list shows Washington's determination to take on terrorism in the Arabian Peninsula, U.S. officials said.

The U.S State Department announced that it designated two suspected leaders of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula under Executive Order 13224. The order was signed into law by U.S. President George W.Bush in 2001 to block terrorist financing.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, dominated the international intelligence radar following a failed attempt to down a U.S. passenger plane Christmas Day. AQAP claimed responsibility for the plot.

The State Department designated Qasim al-Rimi and Nayif al-Qahtani under the executive order. Rimi, the State Department said, played a role in the rival of al-Qaida in Yemen in 2007. Qahtani, for his part, allegedly manages terrorism activity in Yemen, including those that target U.S. interests in the region.

"These cases illustrate our determination to pursue AQAP and undermine AQAP senior leaders' planning and coordination capabilities," said U.S. Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's coordinator for counter-terrorism.

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