Yemen Says It Has Foiled al-Qaeda Plot

By:  Warren Mass
Yemen Says It Has Foiled al-Qaeda Plot

Rajeh Badi, press advisor to Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa, announced on August 7 that government security forces have thwarted a plot by al Qaeda to seize oil and gas export facilities and a provincial capital in eastern Yemen.

Reuters news cited Badi’s statement that the plot called for dozens of al-Qaeda militants dressed in Yemeni army uniforms to storm the energy facilities on the 27th night of the Muslim month of Ramadan, which was this past Sunday.

“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,” Badi told Reuters. Al Mukalla is a main seaport and the capital of the Yemini governorate of Hadramout.

Badi said the government prevented execution of the plot by deploying additional troops around the targeted facilities and barring anyone from entering them.

Yemen is a primary base (along with Saudi Arabia) for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is considered by many to be the most active branch (or “franchise”) of the terrorist network originating with Osama bin Laden. 

A New York Times report noted:

Disclosure of the foiled plot provided the first indication as to why Western nations had been increasingly concerned for the safety of their citizens. Intercepts of secret correspondence between Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of Al Qaeda, and Nasir ul-Wuhayshi, the leader of the Qaeda affiliate [AQAP] in Yemen, inspired deep concern inside the American government about a possible terrorist plot by the group.

As noted in our article posted on August 6, the U.S. State Department announced on August 4 that U.S. embassies and consulates in 19 Muslim nations would remain closed at least until the end of the week. We wrote in that article:

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