Key al-Qaeda suspect arrested [Archives:2003/630/Front Page]

April 7 2003

Yemen Times Staff
& News Services

Fawaz Abdullah al-Rabaeei was one of the arrested al-Qaeda suspects last Tuesday, a well-informed security source said Saturday. Al-Rabaeei was arrested along with another person at al-Urkoob area, Abyan governorate. He was then taken to Sana'a, Security office sources in Abyan said last Tuesday. The two persons were arrested while having a car full of explosives. He was arrested by chance as the security was looking for the two persons who escaped a checkpoint after shooting a soldier who discovered their explosives in the car and wanted to take them to his chief. They killed the soldier and ran away.
The security started looking for the murderers and by chance they discovered that one of the killers was Al-Rabaeei, a most wanted by the Yemeni security and FBI. Security authorities said last December that they thwarted terrorist operations that were to be carried out against US interests and that Al-Rabaeei was one of the masterminds of them. He escaped, according to security sources, an ambush made by the security last August at Beer Ubaid area.
His escape came after finding out a plan to carry out massive terrorist operations, targeting Yemeni and foreign interests, in addition to some prominent government figures.
Al-Rabaeei used to work at the Yemeni presidency office before joining al-Qaeda.
The suspect al Qaeda member named in an FBI terror alert is one of 11 men arrested in Yemen on Tuesday.
Al-Rabaeei also known as Furqan, is believed to be a Yemeni national born in Saudi Arabia in 1979.
Police in the capital Sana'a say he was arrested on March 28 with 10 others in the northern province of Marib after a helicopter-chase.
US officials have said al-Rabeei is believed to have ties to al-Qaeda, but is not linked to the October 2000 attack against the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden, in which 17 US sailors were killed.
Yemeni officials said at least two of the 11 arrested were on the government's most wanted list.
The other most wanted suspect, whose name was not released, is believed to be involved in a November attack on a helicopter and a wave of explosions in Yemen last year.