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Yemen launches 2d attack on wanted Al Qaeda figure

By Ahmed Al-Haj
Associated Press / January 21, 2010

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SANA, Yemen - Yemeni air strikes yesterday targeted one of the country’s most wanted Al Qaeda figures for the second time in a week, security officials said.

The target was Ayed al-Shabwani, whom officials accuse of providing sanctuary for top Al Qaeda figures in the country. Yemeni forces bombed a farm in an area east of the capital, Sana, where a number of Al Qaeda leaders are believed to be living. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was hurt.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk to the media.

Also yesterday, Britain’s government said it would create a new no-fly list, target specific airline passengers for tougher security checks, and suspend some international flights in response to a growing terrorism threat posed by Yemen and Somalia.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the House of Commons he had ordered a hardening of air travel security after last month’s failed attack on a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit, as intelligence agencies’ alarm grows regarding a terrorism threat in Africa and the Arabian peninsula.

Brown said Britain would expand a watch list that contains more than 1 million names, start full-body scans at United Kingdom airports next week, and suspend the two weekly flights between the UK and Yemen.

Steps to tighten airport security follow a meeting between Britain’s military, intelligence, and border security chiefs, and talks between Brown and US President Obama.