Sunday, 24 October 2010

Yemen says foiled bomb plots ahead of football cup

Source: Reuters, 24/10/2010

SANAA-Yemeni police foiled a plot aiming to blow up several sites in the southern port city of Aden, which is due to host the Gulf Cup soccer tournament next month, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday.

Security forces have arrested eight suspects who planned attacks in Aden and tried to carry out subversive activities destabilizing the province, the ministry said in a statement.

A thirty-year old suspect, who had tried to place a plastic bag containing a 1,800 gram explosive device with a detonator and stopwatch at one site, had confessed, the ministry said.

On October 11, four people were killed after two bombs exploded at a sport stadium in Aden. The cases of 23 suspects were sent to a court for trial, the Defense Ministry said.

Yemeni officials have been trying to allay security fears over the blasts ahead of the regional soccer championship due to be held in Yemen next month.

A security official said the government had deployed 30,000 soldiers in the southern province of Aden to provide additional security ahead of the eight-team Gulf Cup football competition from November 22 to December 4.

Yemen is trying to quell a resurgent branch of al Qaeda which has increased its attacks on both Western and government targets in the Arabian Peninsula state, a neighbor of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

Security during the Gulf Cup competition will be an important test of the government's ability to maintain order.

The government is also trying to cement a truce with Shi'ite rebels to end a northern civil war that raged on and off since 2004, and to defuse a separatist revolt in the south. It is under pressure from the West to resolve those domestic conflicts to focus on dealing with al Qaeda.

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