It Is Official
Well, what we reported earlier this morning with caution, is now being confirmed by the Yemen Embassy in Washington. Muhammad al-‘Awfi was arrested and sent back to Saudi Arabia according a press release that just arrived in my in-box:
Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, Washington D.C.
Date: Feb. 17, 2009 For Immediate Release
AL-QAEDA LEADER IS NOW CUSTODY
The Spokesman and commander of the so called “Al-Qaeda Organization in theArabian Peninsula” Mohammad Al-Awfi (alias: Abu Harith) is now in the custody of Yemeni authorities. Al-Awfi, a Saudi citizen and former Guantanamo detainee, who was defected to Yemen to join the creation of a new Al-Qaeda cell that targeted the Arabian Peninsula. Yemeni authorities repatriated Al-Awfi a few hours ago to Saudi Arabia.
In light of the recently reported Al-Qaeda activities, H.E. President Ali AbdullahSaleh spearheaded a campaign against the militant presence in the governorate of Marib. The President recently visited tribal areas and gave a stern warning that individuals who harborwanted fugitives will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. “Terrorism damaged development initiatives and destabilized security in your areas,” President Saleh told the tribalchieftains present. In addition, the Ministry of Interior announced over the weekend thatanti-terrorism forces were mobilized to mountainous and desert hideouts, where suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists are believed to present.
So far, tens of suspects (includes foreignnationals) have been detained in these tactical operations. The level of counter-terrorismcoordination has involved combined Yemeni and Saudi border forces, which have recently stepped up their security measures and efforts to prevent the movement of wanted terrorists within the immediate region. Al-Qaeda has attacked Yemeni civilians, bombed oil installations and foreign missions, targeted security personnel, directly threatening the security and stability of the country. Yemen has been the primary victim of these heinous acts against humanity, and with the assistance of its allies and concerned governments will do its utmost to combat Al-Qaeda.