SANAA, Yemen, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Yemeni authorities uncovered an al-Qaida plot to kill senior military officials and foreign targets during raids in Shabwa province, a security official said.
Thousands of Yemeni civilians have fled the southern province of Shabwa after the government last week launched a major offensive to take on al-Qaida elements in the region.
Ahmed al-Maqdashi, the provincial director of security, said seized al-Qaida documents highlighted plots targeting military leaders in Yemen as well as foreign interests, the official Saba news agency reports.
He added that Yemeni forces were able to strike major blows to the al-Qaida network, though most of the population in the area was displaced as a result of the raids.
Yemen is battling fighters from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of the terrorist network.
Anwar al-Awlaki, a top AQAP figure and U.S.-born cleric, earned a place on Washington's hit list for his alleged role in a plot to down a U.S. passenger plane on Christmas Day and connections to a November shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas.
Abu Bakr al-Kurbi, the Yemeni foreign minister, told Saudi daily newspaper al-Hayat that Washington was involved in airstrikes in Yemeni territory but the operations ended late last year.
"Fighting al-Qaida is the responsibility of security and anti-terrorism forces in Yemen," he said.