Yemen authorities said on Wednesday they uncovered and foiled a plot by al Qaeda to bomb oil pipelines and seize the country's main ports — and the announcement comes just as suspected U.S. drones are believed to have killed 7 more of the militant group members.
BBC reported that security around the pipelines remains tight, and armored vehicles are patrolling the regions. Security experts think that if al Qaeda had been successful, it would have given the group control of a key facet of the country's infrastructure. The plot focused on bombing the pipelines then taking control of two ports in the south and surrounding cities. One of the ports is a main oil exporting site, and employs a large number of foreigners, BBC reported.
"There were attempts to control key cities in Yemen like Mukala and Bawzeer," said one Yemen official, in BBC. "This would be coordinated with attacks by al Qaeda members on the gas facilities in Shebwa city and the blowing up of the gas pipe in Belhaf city."
Meanwhile, security officials in the country say the U.S. has again deployed drones and killed seven suspected militants with al Qaeda in the southern region of Yemen, The Associated Press reported.
This would make the fifth suspected drone attack on al Qaeda in less than two weeks. And this attack comes just one day after U.S. and British governments ordered embassy staff in the nation to evacuate, due to threats. It also comes a day after al Qaeda members claimed responsibility for shooting down a helicopter, AP reported.
The al Qaeda members were killed by drone early Wednesday morning in the province of Shabwa, security officials said, in the AP report. Witnesses said they saw two vehicles on fire, along with several bodies, at the area of the suspected drone attack.
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