Sanaa : Yemen has handed over to Saudi Arabia five men whose names it says appear on a list of 85 militants wanted by the kingdom for involvement in attacks, a Yemeni security official said on Sunday.
Riyadh, however, said only one of the suspects was on its most-wanted list.
The suspects, all Saudi nationals, were extradited on Saturday and are wanted in connection with “terrorist and sabotage” acts, the Yemeni official told AFP.
They include Ali Abdullah al-Harbi, whose arrest the Yemen interior ministry announced in mid-March as part of a search operation for 116 suspects wanted in Yemen for security reasons, the official added.
A defence ministry-linked website, www.26sep.net, said the militants were arrested in Yemen and extradited as part of a security agreement with Riyadh.
However, a spokesman for the Saudi interior ministry said that only one of the five is on the list of 83 Saudi and two Yemeni wanted militants made public in early February.
“Only one (of the five) is on the list. The other four are wanted over other problems,” General Mansur al-Turki told AFP.
The extradition has taken to three the number of people on the list taken into custody by the Saudis. Turki said the government has not confirmed media reports that a number of the other suspects have died in other countries.
Last month former Guantanamo prisoner Mohamed Atiq Awayd al-Awfi turned himself in to Yemeni authorities and was flown to his native Riyadh, after his name appeared on the Saudi most-wanted list.
Yemen is the ancestral homeland of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
In January, the local Al-Qaeda branch announced in a video message posted on the Internet the merging of the Saudi and Yemeni branches into “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”, led by the Yemeni Nasser al-Wahaishi.(*)