By Nasser Arrabyee/26/06/2010
About 15 Al Qaeda suspects were arrested in the Yemeni southern coastal city of Aden over the last few days, security sources said Saturday.
Some of those participated in the brazen attack on the headquarters of Aden intelligence on June 19 when 11 people including three women and a child were killed. And Some of them were arrested while meeting in an Aden house, the sources said.
“It was a swift raid based on accurate information, and all those in the meeting were arrested,” the state-run media quoted an unnamed security official as saying. The official did not say how many were arrested in the raid on the meeting.
Special sources said, however, about seven men were arrested in the meeting.
The official sources said that the security obtained the information from the leader of the group Ghawdal Mohammed Saleh Naji who was arrested last Sunday, only one day after the attack on the intelligence headquarters in Aden. Ghawdal and his group were also accused of plundering 100 million Yemeni Rials ( about half million dollars) from the Arab Bank in Aden late last year.
The official security sources described Ghawdal as a dangerous Al Qaeda operative saying he appeared in video footage with some of Al Qaeda leaders last December.
Ghawdal appeared in a video footage shown by Al Jazeera satellite channel beside Al Qaeda operative Mohammed Ahmed Saleh Omair who threatened in that video to retaliate for the air strike that targeted an Al Qaeda training camp in Al Majalah, Abyan on December 17, 2009. Omair was killed one week later in another air strike which targeted a meeting of Al Qaeda leaders in Rafadh area in Shabwa.
Local sources said Al Qaeda militants exploit the increasing tension between the government and the separatist groups in the south.
Sources from the separatist groups, however, say those who were arrested had nothing to do with Al Qaeda but they were only separation activists.
On Friday, the security forces dispersed angry demonstrations after one of those arrested died in the custody. The security authorities said Ahmed Derwish died in the custody because of asthma while demonstrators say he died because of torture.
Al Saada neighborhood in Khor Maksar in Aden is still surrounded by security forces from all directions until today Saturday after clashes between gun men barricading in some houses and the security men, according to local sources.
Tribal leaders and local authority officials have been trying to contain the situation, the sources said .