Yemen says it smashes three al-Qaida-linked cells

July 3, 2012 16:45

ADEN - Security forces in Yemen have arrested 14 al-Qaida militants, including nine foreigners, who were plotting a series of attacks, the defense ministry said on Tuesday, boosting US-backed efforts to defeat Islamist fighters in the poor country.

The militants were planning to target army and civilian leaders as well as foreign interests, the ministry said, and had been operating in three cells, the largest of which fought the army in the south of the country, where militants until recently held territory.

The ministry gave no details of the date or location of the arrests, but said the militants included four Egyptians, two Jordanians, a Somali, a Tunisian and a man from Dagestan in Russia's North Caucasus.

It's relatively rare for such foreign fighters to be captured alive, though their lifeless bodies have often been found after clashes with government forces.

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