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Qaeda's Mehdar killed in Yemen

Yemeni army soldiers in Saada. Forces launched an offensive in Shabwa. (REUTERS)


Yemeni security forces have killed an Al Qaeda kingpin in Shabwa province in intensive operations against the group, believed to be behind the botched bombing of a US airliner on Christmas Day, an official said yesterday.

"Abdullah Mehdar was killed last night by security forces which had besieged the house he hid in," provincial governor Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi told reporters.

Mehdar was the leader of an Al Qaeda cell in the al-Houta district of Shabwa province, east of the capital Sana'a. Security forces were hunting for the remaining members of the cell.

Ahmadi said on Tuesday that security forces had arrested four Al Qaeda suspects, two of them wounded in a firefight. A tribal source said 18 suspects in the same area managed to escape a police raid and fled.


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