Yemen arrests three foreigners for Al Qaeda links

Sanaa: The Yemeni police have arrested three foreigners in the capital Sanaa for possessing Al Qaeda material, the country’s defence ministry said Saturday.

The three foreigners — a Bulgarian, a Belgian and a Somali — are aged between 22 and 48 years, Xinhua reported citing a ministry statement.

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“The third person was found to have Al Qaeda slogans in his possession and was referred for legal action,” the ministry said, adding that the suspects were caught in a joint operation of the police and Shia Houthi group, whose militants have been on the streets in Sanaa since Friday to secure a Shia religious ceremony.

The Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which emerged in January 2009 and is known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, is considered one of the major threats to the Yemeni government and neighbouring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

Many foreigners recruited by AQAP have been arrested in recent years in Yemen’s southern regions.

Yemen’s official Saba news agency said late last month that the authorities had deported more than 300 foreign students from Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, the US, France and some Asian countries, who attended sermons led by extremists while studying at the al-Fayoush Salafi Centre in the country’s southern Lahj province.