Source: DPA 18/06 2010
The al-Qaeda network on Friday urged tribal leaders in Yemen not to turn over its fighters - also known as the 'mujahidin' - to the government, according to a statement published on Islamist websites.
The statement accused the government of killing 'the innocent people as well as children and women, under the pretext that some members of these tribes are wanted,' referring to the death of the deputy governor of Yemen's Marib province last month.
Jabir al-Shabwani and five of his companions were apparently killed by accident when his car was hit by a missile in an airstrike that was targeting al-Qaeda member Mohammed Saeed bin Jaradan in Marib, 190 kilometres north-east of Sana'a.
The statement urged the Abida tribe, to which al-Shabwani belonged, not to support 'the US agent (Yemeni President) Ali Abdullah Saleh.'
'Who kills your women and children? Are they the mujahidin or Ali Abdullah Saleh?' said the statement.
The Yemeni government has urged the handover of al-Qaeda fighters and threatened punishments for those who harbour the militants. Homes of al-Qaeda sympathisers have regularly been destroyed in recent times.
Al-Qaeda members enjoy some protections in Marib .
Yemen has stepped up operations against al-Qaeda since December, after the Yemen-based group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the failed plot to blow up a US passenger jet as it prepared to land on Christmas Day in Detroit, Michigan