SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Yemen has rounded up 19 suspected followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi who they say were planning to carry out terrorist attacks on U.S. targets.
The pro-government September 26 daily quoted a security source as saying the suspects were being interrogated by the general prosecutor annd would be tried in a terrorism court.
The source said the suspects planned to attack places in Yemen frequented by Americans, including the popular Aden Hotel.
He said several members of the cell returned from Iraq upon Zarqawi's instructions to carry out terrorist acts. Zarqawi heads al-Qaida in Iraq.
One of the defendants identified as Ali Abdullah Ali Assian returned from Iraq and called himself Abu Ali al-Harithy, Jr., in reference to al-Qaida leader in Yemen who was slain in a U.S. drone attack in November 2002.
Assian and the rest of the cell were determined to avenge al-Harithy's slaying, officials say.
The source said before they were arrested, the suspects bought large quantities of arms and explosives to detonate bombs by remote control. They also forged official documents, including identity cards, and rented houses to prepare their plans.
The source did not say if the 19 suspects were involved in the reported plan to assassinate the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa.