Tags: al qaida yemen plot

Yemen Takes Legal Action Against Radical Cleric

Tuesday, 02 November 2010 10:24 AM

Prosecutors in Yemen have charged a radical U.S.-born cleric who allegedly is linked to a failed airplane bombing, with plotting to kill foreigners and being a member of al-Qaida.

Prosecutors announced the charges Tuesday against Anwar al-Awlaki in a Sana'a courtroom, where he is being tried in absentia. It is the country's first formal legal action against Awlaki, who is believed to be hiding in Yemen.

U.S. officials believe Awlaki had a role in a failed attack on a U.S.-bound airliner last December, as well as a November 2009 attack that killed 13 people at a U.S. army base in Fort Hood, Texas.

Prosecutors announced the charges against Awlaki as they opened a trial against another man, Hisham Assem. Officials accused Assem of killing a Frenchman during an attack on an oil firm last month. Assem denied the charges and said he was beaten and forced to give a false confession.

Meanwhile, Yemeni security officials say a manhunt is under way for an al-Qaida-linked bomb-maker wanted for trying to put bombs on U.S.-bound cargo planes. Security officials said investigators were sent to Yemen's Marib and Shabwa provinces Tuesday in an effort to track down Ibrahim Hasan al-Asiri.

The U.S. says the Saudi-born al-Asiri belongs to al-Qaida's Yemen branch, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Officials say he was responsible for the underwear bomb used in the same failed airliner attack in which Awlaki allegedly had a role.

Yemen has been under increased pressure to crack down on al-Qaida-linked terrorists following last week's attempt to place bombs on cargo planes bound for the United States.

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Tuesday, 02 November 2010 10:24 AM
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