FBI in Yemen investigating Saleh attack

June 14, 2011 at 10:05 AM
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SANAA, Yemen, June 14 (UPI) -- With the FBI in Yemen investigating an attack on the Yemeni president, one analyst said the attempt bears the hallmarks of al-Qaida.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is recovering from shrapnel wounds and burns suffered during a June 3 attack on his presidential compound.

A Yemeni government official told the Yemeni Times on condition of anonymity that the FBI was in Sanaa examining the damage.

Yemeni officials said rival tribal groups could have carried out the attack though al-Qaida and members of Saleh's inner circle are now thought to be suspects.

"The Yemeni government has said that it believes al-Qaida was behind the attack," Yemeni political analyst Abdul Ghani al-Iryani told the newspaper. "And it is quite possible."

Yemen is a key U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni offshoot of the militant group, has launched several attacks on U.S. national interests.

The CIA is expected to begin operating unmanned aircraft over Yemen.

U.S. officials said the CIA would operate alongside and in coordination with the U.S. Joint Special Operations Commands, which has been remotely flying drones over Yemen for much of the past year, The Washington Post reported Monday.

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