title: 'Al Qaeda plot Yemen oil plant foiled' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:

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    The Yemeni government says it foiled an Al-Qaeda plot to blow up oil pipelines and seize territory in the country including two ports. Many western countries have closed their embassies in the country. VoR's Tom Spender reports. Meanwhile, media reports claim intelligence about the plot came from intercepts from an Al-Qaeda conference call between its leader and about 20 local representatives across several continents. The Yemeni government says Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula plotted to blow up oil pipelines and take control of ports in the country. Yemeni government spokesman Rajeh Badi said Al-Qaeda members dressed as soldiers were to overrun the ports, where a number of foreign workers are based. Yemeni officials are reported to believe that the plot was in retaliation for the killing of Al-Qaeda commander Said al Shihri in a drone strike last November. Six people were reported killed in a drone strike today in a remote area of the country. And the US is reported to be considering using special forces to strike targets in Yemen. The government has tightened security in Sana’a, with government tanks on the streets and increased checkpoints. Some Western embassies remain closed. However, local journalists say Yemenis are going about their daily business and preparing for the Muslim festival of Eid on Thursday. Meanwhile, reports in the western media claim the intelligence about the Yemen plot came from an Al-Qaeda conference call between the group’s leader Ayman al Zawahiri in Pakistan and leaders of affiliated groups around the world. They reportedly included Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and a branch in Uzbekistan. Referring to the closure of 20 American embassies and consulates in the Middle East, Africa and Asia on Sunday, an unnamed American security official told the Daily Beast website: “All you need to do is look at that list of places we shut down to get a sense of who was on the phone call.” During the call, Zawahiri is also said to have announced that the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Nasser al Wuhayshi, would become the operational commander of all Al-Qaeda affiliates in the Islamic world. Analysts say it’s likely there was an intelligence intercept, although details given to the media may have been changed in order to protect sources. They say the new information shows Al-Qaeda as an organisation is more centralised than had previously been thought. The Yemen plot has prompted some in the US to argue that President Barack Obama was mistaken in saying in May that Al-Qaeda was “on the path to defeat”. A State Department spokeswoman said yesterday that Al-Qaeda affiliates continue to pose a serious threat.

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