Yemen air strikes pound Qaeda leader`s home: Military
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Last Updated: Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 20:56
Sanaa: Yemeni jets pounded the home of a suspected Al-Qaeda leader on Wednesday, an army source said, as the military stepped up pressure on the group believed behind a botched bid to down a US airliner.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, meanwhile, announced in London the suspension of direct flights from Yemen until further security measures are agreed, in the wake of the Christmas Day Detroit bombing scare.

A Yemeni tribal source confirmed the air strikes in Erq Al-Shabwan village, in Maarib province, and said a number of people had been killed. Local forces were responding with anti-aircraft fire.

The wave of air strikes, which began in the morning, blasted the house of Ayed al-Shabwani, one of six Al-Qaeda leaders the government said were killed in an air strike last week, the tribal source said.

A military official, who would not be named, said there had been three strikes on the house and one on an orange grove near the village where the authorities think Shabwani had built a safe haven for dozens of Al-Qaeda members.

The official added that there had been a large deployment of government troops at the city of Maarib, about five kms from Erq Al-Shabwan village.

During the afternoon, witnesses said, jets twice sent missiles smashing into the orange grove and afterwards continued to fly in the area.

The strikes come just days after Yemen said it killed six suspected leaders, including Shabwani, of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Saada province.


First Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 20:56

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