US determined to 'destroy' Al-Qaeda in Yemen: Obama
President Barack Obama on Friday said the United States would press ahead in a bid to "destroy" Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen, amid fears the group was behind a cargo plane plot.
"Going forward, we will continue to strengthen our cooperation with the Yemeni government to disrupt the plotting and to destroy the Al-Qaeda affiliate," Obama said.
Describing a terrorist threat with suspect packages from Yemen on cargo planes bound for the United States, Obama suggested suspicion was focused on Al-Qaeda's branch in the country.
"We know that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, the terrorist group based in Yemen, continues to plan attacks against our homeland, our citizens, and our friends and allies," Obama said.
The president's top counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, had spoken by phone to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Friday "about the seriousness of this threat," Obama said.
Saleh promised Yemen's "full cooperation" in the investigation into the plot, he said.
The United States has stepped up military assistance and training to Yemen amid warnings from intelligence officials of a "virulent" threat from Al-Qaeda there.
Washington has also reportedly carried out direct strikes on Al-Qaeda in Yemen with unmanned aircraft.
In a recent interview, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi acknowledged that the United States had launched attacks on Al-Qaeda in his country, the first confirmation from Sanaa of a direct US military role.
But a foreign ministry official later said that the minister was misquoted, insisting that the US support was confined to "intelligence" sharing.
© 2010 AFP