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Senior al-Qaida figures moving to Yemen

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Veteran al-Qaida terrorists are leaving Pakistan and Afghanistan and are heading to Yemen, U.S. and foreign government officials say.

There they are taking advantage of the Arab nation's escalating civil war and a largely lawless environment, unnamed intelligence officials told Sunday's Boston Globe.

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The newspaper, citing an unidentified intelligence official who is directly involved in counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East, said intercepted communications indicate dozens of top al-Qaida fighters have recently traveled to Yemen where they are trying to turn the remote province of Ma'rib into a new sanctuary.

The Globe said the official asserted the Defense Department is formulating plans to deal with the situation, noting that the United States has has armed drones and special operations forces based in nearby Djibouti.

The newspaper said that among the al-Qaida figures going to Yemen are several who were released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, such as Ibrahaim Al Rubaish, described as a leading religious ideologue who is also known as the "poet of Guantanamo."

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