Middle East News
Yemen says receiving US help against al-Qaeda
Dec 26, 2009, 13:26 GMT
Cairo - Yemen is receiving assistance from the United States in its battle against al-Qaeda operatives in the country, an official was quoted as saying Saturday.
Mohamed al-Anisi, the Yemeni national security chief, told the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz that his forces were cooperating with Washington on attacks against alleged camps being used by the international Sunni Muslim terrorist organization.
Intelligence officials have said al-Qaeda has set up bases in the south of Yemen, and recent Yemeni airstrikes have targeted the hideouts.
Government officials say dozens of militants have been killed in the attacks, though civilians have also reportedly been causalities of the fighting.
The Yemeni security chief also accused Iran in the newspaper interview of aiding Houthi Shiite rebels, who are fighting the central government in the north of the country, in one of several simultaneous violent fronts Sanaa is trying to contain.
Arab Gulf countries have been lambasting Iran for what they say is assistance being given to the rebels in a bid to destabilize the region, something Tehran firmly denies.
Saudi Arabia has been drawn into the conflict in northern Yemen, after saying early last month militants crossed into the kingdom, killing soldiers and eventually civilians.
In retaliation, Saudi Arabia conducted airstrikes against rebel targets, its military said, and pushed back alleged infiltrators.
King Abdullah of Saudi told the Al-Siyasa newspaper published in Kuwait on Saturday that his troops would not cross into Yemen.
It was unclear if he was denying previous charges of his troops operating inside the territory of the neighboring state or if he was announcing an end of operations there.
The monarch also promised 'humiliation and defeat' to those who took up arms against the kingdom.
Earlier this week, a Saudi Ministry of Defense official said 73 Saudis were killed fighting the Houthi rebels, but noted that operations against the militants were coming to a close.
The Houthis, for their part, have vowed to keep up their attacks in their fight against Yemen's central government in Sana'a.