Al-Qaeda mediator detained [Archives:2003/673/Front Page]

October 2 2003

Sana'a, Sept, 30- Reliable sources told the Yemen Times that Yemeni security authorities detained last Thursday a person who was used as a mediator between the authorities and Mohammed Ali al-Ahdal, also named Abu Asem, the number one wanted Al-Qaeda suspect on Yemeni soil and the only mastermind of the organization remaining in Yemen.
The sources said that the mediator was detained when arrangements to meet the president were made.
As soon as he had reached Sana'a City, he was arrested.
The detainee has previously met the president and said that he conveyed an offer to Abu Asem to surrender himself to the authorities in return for a commitment by the Yemeni authorities not to hand him over to the USA.
The source said that Abu Asem is thought to be behind the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Aden, which resulted in the killing of 17 US marines, attacks against US interests in Yemen. However, he was able to disappear following this offer, which he totally rejected.
Abu Asem was a close companion of Qaed Salim Sunian (Abu Ali), who was killed by a remotely controlled US drone in the governorate of Mareb in September last year.
President Saleh had pledged to continue the chase of Abu Ali until he is arrested or killed.
On the other hand, a new al-Qaeda statement in Yemen has denied the rumors of an agreement reached between the government and the al-Qaeda elements in Yemen.
The new statement also accused two of its presumed members namely Abu Jandal and another person of being traitors and liars.