Primary investigation points to the death of Al-Raimi in the attack on the U.S. embassy [Archives:2008/1196/Front Page]

September 6 2008

Aqeel Al-Halali
For the Yemen Times

SANA'A, Oct. 5 ) The initial findings of an investigation into the attack on the American embassy in Sana'a last month have indicated that two Al-Qaeda members were among the six attackers killed during the incident, and that one of them was Qasem Al-Raimi who had escaped from political prison in Sana'a in 2006, according to information received by the Yemen Times.

The findings, not confirmed by an official source, maintained that Qasem Al-Raimi, a wanted member of the Al-Qaeda shura council in Yemen, was among the armed group that targeted the American embassy with two cars including a car bomb, killing seven security men and five civilians including a Yemeni girl holding the American citizenship last month.

Al-Raimi, 30, is considered to be the last among three Al-Qaeda affiliates on a list of the 23 men who escaped from political prison in February 2006. The other two are Nasser Al-Wahshi, 31, commander of the Al-Qaeda in Yemen, and Ibrahim Huaidi, 25.

The other 20 men on the list have reportedly either surrendered themselves to government authorities or been killed by Yemeni security apparatuses.

Abdul Elah Haidar, a writer who specializes in affairs of terrorism, considered this information about the identity of the attackers to be incorrect as the attackers were “new personalities who the FBI was not able to identify”. He added, “If there had been any Al-Qaeda leaders among the attackers, it would have been announced earlier.”

In related news, the Yemeni Ministry of Interior announced that it was able to foil the attempted kidnapping of an American citizen and four members of his family while they were touring the Dhamar governorate, some 90 kilometers to the south of Sana'a.

The media center of the Ministry of the Interior declared that the American family was traveling around the governorate in a car when three armed men intercepted them and tried to kidnap them, but that policemen had intervened to foil the kidnapping operation.

The same source in the Ministry of Interior confirmed that no member of the American family was harmed during the attempted abduction, further noting that security forces had started to track down the armed group who remained anonymous for the time being.

Some tribes in Yemen kidnap foreigners in order to exert pressure on the Yemeni government to release relatives in prison or to provide them with basic services.

The last kidnapping operation took place this past September when armed tribesmen kidnapped two Colombian engineers in the governorate of Shabwa to obtain the release of a fellow tribe member imprisoned in the governorate.

The failed abduction attempt on the American family came three days after the security apparatuses announced the arrest of three men wanted by security, aged between 18 and 35 years old.

The Ministry of Interior's media center said that the three men were handed over to political security based on supreme security directives, pointing out that they were arrested while in their car in Al-Sabeen District, Sana'a. The Ministry of Interior had already issued a notice giving a description of the wanted car.

Security apparatuses are tracking down a number of people suspected of affiliation with extremist groups targeting Yemeni and foreign interests.

Haidar considered that the three detainees have no relation with the last attack on the American embassy, noting that extremist groups in Yemen “target foreign and non-foreign interest s in Yemen”. He further said that the campaign of arrests carried out by the Yemeni security apparatuses has been ongoing since 2000 when the USS Cole was targeted in the Gulf of Aden. He considered that the Ministry of Interior's announcement of having arrested three men is “simply propaganda”.

The economic damage sustained by Yemen due to terrorist attacks in the country amounts to USD 2 billion, according to Al-Qirbi's speech in front of the UN General Assembly last week.