Yemeni security forces claim to have foiled a plot by al-Qaida to take over oil
and gas export facilities, as well as a small city nearby in the country’s
The office of Yemen’s prime minister said the plan would have seen
“dozens” of al-Qaida terrorists disguised in official army uniforms taking the
facilities by surprise in a night raid that was scheduled for last Sunday, when
the US originally broadened its worldwide travel warning.
“The plot aimed
to seize the al-Dabbah oil export terminal in Hadramout [province] and the
Belhaf gas export facility, as well as the city of Mukalla,” Rajeh Badi, press
advisor to the prime minister, told Reuters, referring to the Hadramout
Badi said the plot was prevented by deploying extra
troops around the targeted facilities and banning anyone from
The State Department travel warning, which led to the closure
of 19 diplomatic facilities across the Middle East this week, was reinforced in
Yemen on Tuesday when the US and the UK airlifted all official personnel from
the country and called on their citizens to leave
Washington justified the move, citing intelligence that
pointed to a “specific, immediate threat” with an “extremely high” threat level.
But officials have not clarified whether the threat outlined by the Yemeni
government characterizes the extent of the threat stream that led to the
The US is preparing special forces for possible
operations in Yemen against al- Qaida, according to a report by the BBC on
Wednesday, which also said that heightened security measures were visible in
Sanaa, the capital.
The closures spanned from Libya to Kuwait and
included Tel Aviv, which officials say stemmed from fears that al-Qaida in Sinai
had coordinated with the plan.
A report from the US online news source
The Daily Beast claimed the US had intercepted a conference call including over
20 al-Qaida operatives around the region.
“All you need to do is look at
that list of places we shut down to get a sense of who was on the phone call,”
the article quoted a US official as saying.
An American drone killed at
least six suspected al-Qaida terrorists in southern Yemen on Wednesday. The
strikes also destroyed two vehicles in the town of Nasab.
It was the
fifth strike in less than two weeks.
Witnesses and local officials in the
province of Shabwa said the drone fired at least six missiles at two vehicles in
a remote area some 70 km. north of the provincial capital, Ataq. Both vehicles
Residents who rushed to the scene found only charred
bodies, they said.
Yemen demonstrated its frustration with countries that
have decided to evacuate their embassies, saying it only served the interests of
the terrorists, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on
“While the government of Yemen appreciates foreign governments’
concern for the safety of their citizens, the evacuation of embassy staff serves
the interests of the extremists and undermines the exceptional cooperation
between Yemen and the international alliance against terrorism,” the statement
Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report.