Yemen stepping up its war on al-Qaida

SANAA, Yemen, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Yemen is "bringing the fight to al-Qaida," a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa said Saturday.

Mohammed Albasha told CNN the government is establishing four new branches of its counterterrorism force, in Mareb, Shabwa, Abyan and Hadramawt.


"This is the next phase in the war on terrorism. We are bringing the fight to al- Qaida," he said.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, based in Yemen, is believed to be responsible for the attempted bombing of a flight as it landed in Detroit year ago and a later series of attempted parcel bombings.

The Pentagon is spending $150 million to train and equip Yemen's security forces to fight al-Qaida, including helicopters, planes and Special Forces training.

Last week, presidential aide John Brennan said AQAP is "increasingly active" in seeking recruits, even in the United States.

"Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is now the most operationally active node of the al-Qaida network," he said.

The While House said Brennan called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh Thursday and emphasized "the importance of taking forceful action against al-Qaida."


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