Saleh says he . . . ‘Forbids’ attacks on Westerners [Archives:2002/48/Front Page]

November 25 2002

Militant attacks against Western targets in Yemen hurt Yemen and provide a pretext for foreign intervention in the Arab state’s affairs, said Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh this week
His remarks were carried by the official Saba news agency, came one day after Sanaa acknowledged that a U.S. missile strike that killed six suspected members of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda group earlier this month was carried out with Yemen’s consent.
“Bombing ships in Hadramout and bombing the Cole destroyer in Aden…and other destructive acts which harm the country are forbidden,” Saba quoted Saleh as saying.
“What is going on does not only affect the United States but also our nation and our stability and it drives foreign powers to intervene in our internal affairs,” he told tribal and Islamic leaders in Sanaa.
Saleh was apparently reacting to recent criticism by Yemeni opposition parties of the November 3 missile attack as a violation of Yemen’s sovereignty. Yemen on Tuesday said the attack was part of its “security coordination and cooperation” with the United States.
Meanwhile, Britain and Kuwait say they have foiled attacks by Arab assailants as more warnings were issued this week that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network is back in business and planning terror attacks around the world.
And the British Foreign Office has recommended all British nationals leave Yemen for fear of reprisal attacks and warned against travel there. They also warned intelligence services were picking up increased “chatter” from the region similar to that picked up in the run-up to Sept. 11.
At the same time, a senior Kuwaiti security official said the Gulf emirate has custody of an al-Qaeda member who confessed to planning the attack against a French supertanker off the coast of Yemen last month and a car bomb attack that was to have been carried out against a hotel in the Yemeni capital, San’a.
The official identified the senior al-Qaeda member as Mohsen al-Fadhli, 21, a Kuwaiti citizen arrested with two other alleged Kuwaiti members of al-Qaeda on Nov. 4. The official said Mr. Fadhli began talking on Monday, detailing the planning of the tanker attack.
The disclosure that the Yemeni attack originated in Kuwait comes as a blow to the emirate, which only reluctantly conceded the presence of active al-Qaeda cells among its citizens after an attack by two Kuwaitis against U.S. troops last month left one Marine dead. Kuwait State Security has concluded that the two were linked to Muhammad Mansur Jabarah, 20, a Canadian citizen born in Kuwait who was arrested in Oman earlier this year.
Alexander Downer, the Australian Foreign Minister, said Western nations have underestimated the international terrorist threat.
“They have a network which has turned out in my view to be a much bigger network than was understood immediately after Sept. 11. I think there are likely to be a lot more people involved in these terrorist organizations than was originally suspected,” Mr. Downer told Australian television yesterday.
Mr. Downer said the plot to release poisonous gas in the London subway highlighted the continuing terror threat posed by al-Qaeda and allied organizations such as Jemaah Islamiah. The Islamist movement is suspected of planning the Bali blast on Oct. 12 that killed more than 190 people.