Yemen Arrests 'Dangerous' Al-Qaeda Terrorist

Yemen arrests Al-Qaeda member Omar Salem, described as "one of the most dangerous" terrorists.

Elad Benari ,

AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi (center)
AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi (center)

Yemeni authorities arrested on Tuesday "one of the most dangerous" Al-Qaeda terrorists in the country's southeast, AFP reported, citing the state news agency Saba.

"The arrested terrorist Omar Salem is involved in the assassination of the deputy head of the military college General Ali bin Freyjan" who was killed earlier this month, Saba quoted a military official as saying.

Salem was arrested in Ghayl Bawazir in the southeastern province of Hadramawt after authorities received a tip-off about his whereabouts, the source said.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has stepped up its attacks against Yemeni security forces, mainly in the lawless southern and eastern provinces where jihadist groups are active.

The Islamist network has taken advantage of the weakening of the central government in Sanaa since a popular uprising that toppled president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.

Last week, authorities in Yemen managed to thwart a large-scale prison break in Sanaa.

A mass-mutiny broke out at the high-security facility as "almost 300 al-Qaeda prisoners, armed with knives and iron bars, attacked prison guards, injuring some of them."

The rampaging prisoners managed to smash open their cell doors and break down the first security barrier out of the prison, seizing weapons from guards as they went.

They then used those weapons to attack security guards at the second barrier, but were pushed back as guards opened fire, injuring an unspecified number of prisoners.

This is just the latest incident in a series of jailbreaks or attempted jailbreaks by Al Qaeda and other Islamist groups.

Following a coordinated attack on an Iraqi prison which freed 500 Al Qaeda inmates, the leader of Yemen's Al Qaeda branch - Nasser al-Wuhayshi - wrote an open letter pledging to free all of Al Qaeda's imprisoned operatives.

In August, the United States closed down all its embassies in the Middle East for several days after U.S. intelligence intercepted a phone call between al-Wuhayshi and Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. During the phone call, al-Wuhayshi reportedly vowed to carry out an attack that would "change the face of history".