Al-Qaeda suspect arrested in Kuwait

21 November 2002

Kuwaiti police have arrested a man they say was plotting to blow up a hotel housing Americans in Yemen and has links to al-Qaeda, in the authorities' ongoing campaign against suspected militants in the country. Police believe the capture of the 21-year old man, named only as 'Mohsen', has provided them with very significant information the group's activities. He is said to have disclosed details of a planned car bomb attack on a Sanaa hotel, directed by alleged senior al-Qaeda leader in Yemen Abu Asem al-Maki, as well as of the attack on French-flagged oil tanker the Limburg in the Gulf of Aden on 6 October.

The detention is part of a wide investigation of Kuwaitis who fought in Afghanistan. In October two such veterans carried out an attack on US marines stationed in Kuwait, killing one and injuring another (MEED 11:10:02). Police have deemed the subsequent operations a success, saying that a 15-strong al-Qaeda cell was dismantled, but lawyers representing the accused alleged torture and forced confessions.

The UK has announced the closure to the public of its embassy in Yemen and advised its citizens to leave the country. In an interview with Sky Television, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that the government had received intelligence 'which suggests that the threat level to British residents and citizens is increased'.

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