Yemen arrests suspected al-Qaida member

By MOHAMMAD AL-DILMI  |  April 5, 2003 at 7:11 AM
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SANAA, Yemen, April 5 (UPI) -- A Yemeni security official said Saturday that the authorities have arrested a suspected leading member of al-Qaida sought by the FBI for involvement in terror operations against American interests.

The official, who insisted on anonymity, told United Press International that Fawaz Yahya al-Burei, known as Yahya al-Rubaie, was arrested on Friday.

He said the suspect, 25, had disappeared after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, and was believed to have carried out terror attacks along with other al-Qaida members.

He noted that the authorities had arrested his younger brother to track down al-Rubaie, to no avail.

The source said that al-Rubaie was arrested Friday at a checkpoint at the entrance of Zanzibar city southeast of Yemen when he and another companion tried to bribe a soldier "with a large amount of money to silence him when he found weapons in their car."

After the 9/11 attacks, Yemeni authorities launched a wide-scale campaign in search of people suspected of involvement with al-Qaida, led by Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden.

Special American forces last year managed to kill leading al-Qaida suspect Abu Ali al-Harithi and six other fugitives for their alleged involvement in the attack against the USS Cole in October 2000.

They were killed by a missile dropped on their car by an unmanned aircraft in Ma'areb northeast of the country.

Washington has been pressuring Sana'a to chase suspected al-Qaida members and supporters after the U.S. Administration handed Yemen a list of wanted men, including Yahya al-Rubaie.

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