Yemeni authorities have arrested another jihadist American Muslim suspected of being an Al Qaeda terrorist. The unidentified man appeared on a list of wanted Al-Qaeda suspects, a security official told AFP.
He was detained in Ataq, the capital of Shabwa province, a jihadist stronghold in the south of Yemen, the official said. The suspect spoke in English, said he was a Muslim and had three passports in his possession -- two American and one German, he added.
As the man appeared on an interior ministry wanted list, he was handed over to the intelligence services, who transferred the suspect to the capital, Sana’a.
BBC reported that the man was wearing Arab clothes when he was arrested in the Sharqa Hotel in Ataq, according to a report on the privately-owned Yemeni news website, Yemen Fox, which quoted a local official.
The appearance of Americans in terrorist groups has increased.
A Foreign Policy Research Institute study has noted, “The attacks of September 11, 2001 spawned a decade of Al-Qaeda inspired radicalization of disaffected Middle Eastern and North African youth and a handful of young Western men.
“Ten years later, foreign fighters to Afghanistan, Iraq and other jihadi battlefields appear to be declining while in contrast analysts have pointed to an uptick in United States (U.S.) based “homegrown extremism” - terrorism advocated or committed by U.S. residents or citizens.”
Last year, a CIA-led drone strike in Yemen killed two Americans, senior Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and another America-born terrorist, Samir Khan, the co-editor of an English-language Al-Qaeda web magazine called Inspire.
President Barack Obama called the death of Awlaki “a major blow to Al-Qaeda's most active operational affiliate.”
Al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico and became an Islamic radical cleric who became a prominent figure in Al-Qaeda and was involved in several terror plots in the United States. He worked with the Al-Qaeda branch in Yemen when it was led by Nasser al-Wahishi, who planned the botched Christmas Eve 2009 attempt to blow up an American airliner heading to Detroit and another foiled 2010 attempt to send explosives to Chicago.
Another American who joined Al-Qaeda is Adam Yahiye Gadahn, who converted to Islam in 1995 at a California mosque.
He was rumored to have been killed in a drone strike but may stilll be alive.