- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 26, 2002

SAN'A, Yemen U.S. Marines and Yemeni special forces rehearsed passenger rescues from planes at San'a International Airport yesterday after threats from suspected al Qaeda terrorists to carry out suicide attacks on Yemeni officials, a source told United Press International.

U.S. Marines are in Yemen to conduct a two-week security training for Yemeni forces, the source said.

At the request of the United States, Yemeni special forces also have been searching for two men suspected of links to al Qaeda, the source said. Yemen has arrested more than 170 persons in a drive against militants suspected of links to al Qaeda since the September 11 attacks in the United States blamed on Osama bin Laden's network.

Yemeni officials said on Monday that U.S. experts have started installing monitoring devices at the airport and the port of Aden in southern Yemen to prevent terrorists from entering the country. Seventeen U.S. Navy sailors were killed when suicide bombers attacked the USS Cole in Aden in October 2000.

Meanwhile, Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. Central Forces, arrived in San'a for talks with Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh on combating terrorism.

Gen. Franks, whose command covers the Middle East, Afghanistan and Central Asia, said the United States is eager to consolidate anti-terrorism cooperation with Yemen.

However, he said that the United States was not establishing bases in the Arab country nor had Mr. Saleh asked for U.S. forces to be deployed.


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