Yemen says captures three al Qaeda militants

SANAA - Three armed al Qaeda militants were captured in Yemen early Saturday, close to the Saudi Arabian border, a Yemeni security official said.

By (Reuters)

Published: Sat 16 Jan 2010, 8:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:39 AM

Meanwhile, Shi’ite rebels, involved in a conflict with government forces and cross-border fighting with Saudi Arabia, said they had shot down a Saudi military helicopter.

The Apache helicopter was hit as it was joining Saudi forces in the mountainous Jabal Dukhan border area, which has been the site of heavy fighting since rebels carried out a raid there in November, the rebels’ website said. It caught fire and crashed, the website added.

Saudi Defence Ministry spokesman General Ibrahim al-Malek could not be reached immediately for comment.

The Yemeni security official told Reuters that the detained militants had weapons, explosives and leaflets with them. The official asking not to be named.

On Friday, six al Qaeda militants were killed in an air strike in northern Yemen in a stepped-up government campaign against the Islamist group.

Yemen, which gained a reputation as a haven for al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, came under the spotlight after crackdowns on the group in Pakistan and Afghanistan raised concern it was becoming a training and recruiting centre for militants.

Yemen stepped up its operations against al Qaeda after a Yemen-based wing of the group said it was behind an attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Dec. 25.

Saudi Arabia said last week its forces had killed hundreds of Yemeni rebels in a slice of Saudi territory. Four Saudi troops had been killed, it said.

The rebels, called Houthis named after their leaders’ clan, say they crossed the border in November only because Saudi Arabia was letting Yemeni forces use its territory to attack them.

Yemeni authorities said last week their forces had killed 19 rebels in house-to-house fighting in the northern city of Saada in a continuing operation dubbed “Blow to the Head”.

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