- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 1, 2003

SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 1 (UPI) — Yemeni police have arrested 13 Islamist militants in connection with Monday's killing of three U.S. missionaries in a Baptist-run hospital south of the capital Sanaa, a security source said Wednesday.

The source, who refused to be identified, told United Press International that the 13 had ties to Abed Abdel Razeq al-Kamel, who is already in custody on suspicion of shooting the three American missionaries who work in the medical field at the Jibla Mission Hospital in Jibla.

The source said they were among scores of known Islamist militants arrested in a series of police raids that began Monday night shortly after the shootings.

He did not specify the number of detainees but said most of them are "mosque preachers from various parts of Yemen, and they are accused of giving provocative sermons" during Friday prayers.

The source also said a team of U.S. investigators arrived in Sanaa Tuesday to join the investigation into the killings.

U.S. government officials have said that if al-Kamel was connected with any known Islamic terror group they were not aware of it.

However, the Yemeni authorities Tuesday identified al-Kamel as a member of a five-man cell, which, they said, was planning similar attacks on Yemeni political figures and foreigners.

Another member of the group, Ali Jarallah was also under arrest in connection with the assassination last week of leftist opposition leader Jarallah Omar, the Yemeni Socialist Party's deputy secretary-general.

Both the detained men are members of the religious al-Imam university in Sanaa.

Meanwhile, thousands of Yemenis took to the streets to take part in Omar's funeral. But tight security measures prevented a large number of them from reaching the cemetery where he was buried.

The mourners carried placards that read: "No to political crime. No to terrorism and extremism" and "We want Yemen free of terrorism."

Many Islamic clerics have denounced the Yemeni government's cooperation with the United States in the war against terrorism. When CIA agents used an unmanned plane to destroy a car carrying local al Qaida leaders, clerics denounced the action in their Friday sermons in the mosques. They said the government had acted unconstitutionally in permitting the CIA to operate in Yemen.

Analysts said Wednesday the Yemeni government had taken advantage of the shooting to arrest militant Islamic clerics and preachers.


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