Yemen captures Al-Qaeda prison escapee: security official

19th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Yemeni security forces have arrested a suspected Al-Qaeda militant who was sentenced to death for attacking a French ship and was among 23 prison escapees in 2006, a security official said on Thursday.

Huzam Majali, who is considered a leading figure of Al-Qaeda in the area of Arhab, north of the capital, was arrested on Wednesday.

"He surrendered after a successful raid by the anti-terrorism forces on a house he was hiding in," the official said.

Information obtained from "recently arrested elements and leaders of Al-Qaeda have helped in arresting new people and foiling plots for terrorist attacks on vital security and economic installations," the source added.

Majali was sentenced in August 2004 for his involvement in the deadly attack on the French tanker, the Limburg, in October 2002, off Yemen's southeastern coast.

An explosion ripped through the ship, killing one Bulgarian crew member and wounding 12 others.

Two years earlier, 17 US sailors were killed when two suicide bombers on an inflatable raft blew themselves up alongside the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen's southern port of Aden.

Among the 23 escapees were 13 who were serving sentences for one or the other of those attacks.

Their brazen escape from a prison controlled by Yemen's political security service in February 2006 left Sanaa red-faced. Most of the escapees have either been recaptured or killed.

Yemen is the ancestral homeland of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

© 2010 AFP

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