Yemen blocks Al Qaeda plot in oil province

The New York Times reports that Yemen has thwarted an al Qaeda plot to attack vital installations in a province that is home to much of the country’s oil resources and a key pipeline that ferries crude to the coast.

The Yemeni defense ministry said Monday 14 June said security forces had destroyed an al Qaeda hideout in the Maarib province and foiled a “plot on the verge of implementation to target economic and government installations and army camps.”

The announcement that authorities had foiled an al Qaeda plot followed several days of gun battles between Yemeni forces and militants in Wadi Obeida, a suspected militant stronghold in Maarib. At least one person was killed and around 20 more wounded in fighting and shelling in the area, according to the government; tribesmen suspected of being aligned with al Qaeda later blew up a crude pipeline linking Maarib to the Red Sea coast. 

Al Qaeda members, many of whom hail from local tribes, have forged links with Yemen tribesmen in efforts to establish a support base in the Arabian peninsula country, where government control is weak in many areas outside the capital Sanaa.

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