Islamic Jihad-affiliated media cell arrested [Archives:2008/1193/Front Page]

September 25 2008

By: Aqeel Al-Halali
For the Yemen Times

SANA'A, Sept 24 ) The Yemeni Ministry of Interior has announced the arrest of a media cell affiliated with the Islamic Jihad in Yemen, the organization which claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the American embassy in Sana'a last week.

The attack, carried out by two vehicles including a car bomb, resulted in the death of seven Yemeni security guards, five citizens -including a Yemeni girl holding American citizenship- and five of the attackers, according to the latest official statistics.

An official source in the Ministry of Interior said in a press release that six persons were arrested last Sunday charged with “issuing releases on behalf of the Islamic Jihad organization”. The releases contained threats targeting a number of personalities, embassies and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working in Yemen and vowed to carry out terrorist operations against them.

The source pointed out that among the detainees was Abu Al-Ghaith Al-Yamani, whose signature was shown on the press release that claimed responsibility for the last attack against the American embassy.

The source said that the detainees formed a cell in charge of issuing press releases via online websites in the name of Islamic Jihad or the “virtue authority”.

Abdul Elah Haidar, a writer who specializes in the study of terrorism, in a statement to the Yemen Times, ruled out the possibility, circulated by the Yemeni media, of Abu Al-Ghaith Al-Yamani being the leader of the Islamic Jihad organization. He maintained that the Interior Ministry's statement on the arrest had been made in the context of the media war between the government and Islamic Jihad.

“I don't believe that those who planned the attack against the embassy and succeeded to reach its main gate despite extensive security barriers will fall easily into the hands of security,” said Haidar.

In relation to the attacks, the Yemeni cabinet last Thursday held a meeting with mosque preachers, the media and various social personalities to clarify the “human and economic effects” of the suicide attack that took place last week in the embassy. He considered that such efforts would “enhance public opinion that rejects such acts that contradict the principles of our Islamic belief.”

The cabinet maintained that the attack against the embassy aimed to “damage the national economy and defame Yemen's image and reputation on the international level”, adding that “it further aimed to negatively affect citizen's security, living and stability.” It called on all citizens to be alert and cooperate with security apparatuses to “repel terrorists”.

Since the terrorist attack against the American embassy, the government has intensified security protection for all diplomatic missions in Sana'a. In addition, the security forces have launched a campaign to inspect people's vehicles on the main streets.