Yemen expelled 16,000 foreign Al Qaeda suspects: vice president

June 16th, 2008 - 3:43 am ICT by IANS  

Sanaa, June 16 (DPA) Yemen has expelled 16,000 suspected members of the Al Qaeda network since 2005, as part of its efforts to fight terrorism, Yemeni vice president Abdu-Rabu Mansour Hadi said Sunday. In comments carried on the defence ministry’s website, Hadi said the expelled suspects “belonged to various nationalities and many of them were those known as the Arab Afghans”.

Arab Afghans are Muslim Jihadi veterans from various Arab countries who had fought against the Soviet army in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Yemen received thousands of those militants after the war ended in 1989.

Hadi said the suspected militants were sent back to their home countries between 2005 and 2008. He did not name any of the countries.

After the Sep 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, Yemen allied itself with the United States in the “war on terrorism” and cracked down on armed groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Security forces have also rounded up hundreds of Arab Afghans and foreign students at unregistered religious schools across the Arabian Peninsula country.

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